Relative Advantage of Using Presentation Applications in the Classroom

September 30, 2012

Presentation applications such as Microsoft PowerPoint, are often times not used to their full potential in classrooms.  When used as note taking outlines during a lecture, there can so much information on each slide that students are reading and copying information rather than listening and thinking about the bigger picture or message.  When used effectively, there are many advantages to using presentation applications in the classroom.  In their book, Integrating Educational Technology into Teaching, Roblyer and Doering (2012) state the following benefits that presentation software offers educators:

  • Helps organize thinking about a topic.
  • Enhances the impact of spoken information.
  • Allows collaboration on presentations.

Effective use of presentation software supports a presenter in getting a message across to their audience.  According to Teach-nology.com, some additional benefits are accommodating all learners’ needs, motivating students, and the ability to post presentations online as a resource for students.  One major technical advantage is being able to have everything in one place.  Pictures, videos, music, links to sites, and other learning aides can be embedded into presentations which enable them to be easily accessed at the appropriate time in the presentation.  It’s also a great way for students to be able to access the resource for future review.  When used to aid a lecture, note taking slide handouts containing main points can be given to students ahead of time as a way to help them organize the information you are sharing. 

When it comes to classroom management, having slides prepared ahead of time means you don’t have to write the information on the board during class.  Not only is classroom time saved, but you can keep your eyes on students rather than have your back to them.  With the use of a remote control, you can navigate through the classroom, checking on students as needed, while still continuing with your presentation from any spot in the room.   

There are many advantages to using presentation applications in classrooms.  It is important to remember, as with all teaching/learning tools, they need to be used appropriately.  Taking the time to create an effective presentation may take a lot of time upfront, but the having the ability to reflect on a presentation, modify it, and use it again in the future should be a strong motivator.

 

Resources:

Roblyer, M.D, & Doering, A.H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc. 

Teachnology, Inc. (n.d.). PowerPoint in the classroom.  Retrieved from http://www.teach-nology.com/tutorials/powerpoint/.

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Relative Advantage of Instructional Software in the Classroom

September 23, 2012

There is a variety of instructional software available for teachers to add to their instruction as a way to make lessons and activities more engaging to students.  In their book, Integrating Educational Technology Into Teaching, Roblyer and Doering (2012) share that there are five instructional software functions:

  • Drill and Practice
  • Tutorial
  • Simulation
  • Instructional Game
  • Problem Solving

When incorporating instructional software in lessons and activities, it is important to evaluate the relative advantages of each software package.  Some focus on serving one particular function, but many include features of multiple functions.  Revisiting the purpose or need for integrating the instructional software can help to keep the evaluation process on track towards selecting the most appropriate software.

There are many advantages to using instructional software in a classroom.  One that really stands out to me is that students are able to get more individualized instruction and practice, along with immediate feedback.  Tutorial software programs like Khan Academy allow students to watch a lesson presentation as many times as needed to reinforce concepts they may have already learned.  When students are set up with an account, they get access to a self-passed program that also lets them practice the skills they are learning and tracks their progress for parents and teachers to reference.  Another advantage is that teachers can save resources and time.  Why have paper and pencil multiplication practice when it can be done on the computer as a fun game?  Software programs like Arcademic Skill Builders provide proficiency data and list which problems a student got incorrect during the timed game.   Students are even able to play against other students, adding an element of competition that can be motivating for some.  This helps to reduce the need for making copies of worksheets and time in correcting them.

Relative Advantages for Instructional Software Functions:

Drill and Practice – motivating, self-paced, saves time and resources, immediate feedback

Tutorial – motivating, self-paced, playback ability, immediate feedback, saves time and resources

Simulation – motivating, self-paced, playback or repeat ability, saves time and resources, safe

Instructional Game – motivating, increase retention, reinforces skills in a fun way

Problem Solving – motivating, visual aide, demonstrates application of skills

Here are two resources to help with evaluating instructional software:

How to Evaluate Instructional Software and Websites: http://www.techknowlogia.org/TKL_Articles/PDF/129.pdf

Criteria Checklist for Evaluating Instructional Software: http://wps.prenhall.com/wps/media/objects/2448/2507611/Volume_medialib/IAF04.PDF

Here is the link to my Instructional Software Presentation:

http://prezi.com/t6xoncfm0y7y/instructional-software-presentation/

Resources:

Roblyer, M.D, & Doering, A.H. (2012). Integrating educational technology into teaching (6th Edition). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.


Acceptable Use Policies

September 16, 2012

Internet access is widespread throughout schools.  In order for schools to maintain control in regards to internet access, they need to adopt an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP).  The basic concept of an AUP is similar to that of classroom and library rules or guidelines.  Such policies exist to keep students safe from online predators and questionable content that is present online.  They are also there to hold students and other users (staff, contractors, visitors) accountable for their actions and to keep them focused on using the Internet as a tool to support education.

Every state, district, and school creates their own type of Acceptable Use Policies.  As seen the in the examples below, many are very extensive and address Internet safety for students.  Some are designed as general rules for everyone to follow, and others include student specific agreement forms that students must sign along with parents/guardians such as the Austin Independent School District.  According to the National Education Association, “an effective AUP contains 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” (as cited in Education World, n.d.).  As districts and schools develop AUPs, federal and state laws need to be addressed.  According to James Bosco of the Consortium for School Networking (CoSN) Participatory Learning in Schools: Policy & Leadership Initiative (2011), The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) and the Title II of the Broadband Data Improvement Act contain laws that policy makers must follow in regards to Internet access, safety, and social networking in schools.  It is important that districts and schools do what they can to protect their students and themselves from potential dangers while on the Internet.

Examples of Acceptable Use Policies:

– Independent School District of Boise City, ID: http://school.boiseschools.org/modules/cms/pages.phtml?pageid=271852&sessionid=61c8f5c5d6d8588abd6494e8cedcd00b&sessionid=61c8f5c5d6d8588abd6494e8cedcd00b

The Independent School District of Boise City covers acceptable use of technology, prohibited use of technology, district rights and responsibilities, discipline, and parental right to restrict Internet access.  They allow parents to sign a form to request that their child not participate in the use of the Internet.

– Austin Independent School District, TX: http://www.austinisd.org/sites/default/files/dept/technology/docs/AU_Guidelines_20120427.pdf

The Austin Independent School District covers rules for appropriate use, inappropriate uses, consequences for inappropriate use, reporting violations, monitored use and filtering, Internet safety, education, vandalism, forgery, and warning. They also include disclaimers and copyright information and require that all users, including parents/guardians with students, sign an agreement to follow the guidelines.

– Los Angeles Unified School District, CA: http://askitd.net/departments/iss/security/aup

The Los Angeles Unified School District includes acceptable and unacceptable use of their network or Internet access, student internet safety, penalties, and disclaimers.  They have separate documents for students and employees.  Students are required to sign an agreement along with their parents/guardians.

– The School District of Philadelphia, PA: http://www.philasd.org/offices/administration/policies/815.pdf0

The School District of Philadelphia includes the purpose, definition, authority, delegation of responsibility, consequences for inappropriate use, and guidelines for e-mail, safety, prohibitions, security, and copyright which are supported by policies within state and federal laws.

– Escambia County School District, FL: http://www.escambia.k12.fl.us/PDF/AUP041508.pdf

The Escambia County School District includes three parts to their guidelines for acceptable use of district information systems: staff access, student/community access, and district website guidelines. Some of the major topics covered are equipment, privacy, the Internet, e-mail, network operating system, unacceptable uses, and responsibility of the district, content, maintenance, and security.  They allow parents to sign a form to request that their child not participate in the use of the Internet, media, or web publishing and also require a usage permission form.

References:

Education World. (n.d.). Getting started on the internet: Developing an acceptable use policy (AUP).  Retrieved from http://www.educationworld.com/a_curr/curr093.shtml

Bosco, J. (2011). Acceptable use policies in the web 2.0 and mobile era. Consortium for School Networking Participatory Learning in Schools: Washington, DC. Retrieved from http://www.cosn.org/Initiatives/ParticipatoryLearning/Web20MobileAUPGuide/tabid/8139/Default.aspx


Vision Statement: Technology Integration in Educational Institutions

September 9, 2012

Integrating technology into educational institutions is a necessity for aiding in preparing 21st century learners for their future experiences.  “Technology is ubiquitous, touching almost every part of our lives, our communities, our homes” (Edutopia, 2008).  Students of all ages need to have the opportunity to experience technology as a way to gather and share information that is both appropriate and meaningful.  They need to feel comfortable with its applications that support daily activities.  Integrated technology can provide students with these powerful experiences while enhancing traditional curriculum standards addressed in school.

Educational institutions have a responsibility to introduce students to career-based experiences through technology integration.  Entering the workforce with the ability to interact and perform tasks is vital to their success in a globally competitive economy.  Consistent use of technology in educational settings can provide students with current practices that lead them into the workforce.  “Technology is continuously, and rapidly, evolving. It is an ongoing process and demands continual learning” (Edutopia, 2007).  Students need to be comfortable with adjusting to changes in technology that can affect the use of the tool.  In addition to students, educators need to stay current with technological trends and resources that can support their efforts in preparing students to enter the workforce.

Educational institutions need to teach students in the way they learn.  According to Tony Wagner (2008), “Young adults who’ve grown up on the net are habituated to multimedia learning experience, as opposed to merely interacting with text” (p. 178).  These Net Generation students are used to instant communication, multiple stimuli, and having information at their fingertips.  Their ability to absorb large amounts of information at once needs to be used to their benefit in school rather than requiring them to slow down.  “Young people thrive in a world of ever-changing images, constant updates, and immediate access to whatever information they may want” (Wagner, 2008, p. 177).  Learning is not just memorizing information, but knowing how to find and apply information to develop creative and innovative solutions to real problems.  Educational institutions need to provide students with situations in which they feel comfortable learning in order to take full advantage of the time students are in school.

Educational institutions need to embrace technology to provide students with as many relative experiences as possible.  The more educators can support them early on in their education, the more experiences they will have to draw from.  Students’ exposure to technology in educational settings will enable them to be prepared to be contributing members of society as they enter the workforce.

References:

Edutopia. (2007). What is successful technology integration? Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-guide-description

Edutopia. (2008). Why integrate technology into the curriculum?: The reasons are many. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction

Wagner, T. (2008). The global achievement gap: Why even our best schools don’t teach the new survival skills our children need – and what we can do about it. New York, NY: Basic Books.