Tech Use Plan Presentation

It’s extremely gratifying to reach the end of my first semester in the EdTech program. I have worked hard to successfully juggle three courses, and I am looking forward to a break. However, I must admit I’m rather sad to end EdTech 501. It has been such an enjoyable course with an excellent instructor and it’s made me excited for the remainder of the EdTech program.

Our final project is the presentation below. For the last few weeks I have been analyzing technology use planning and the components of a well crafted technology plan. For this final presentation, I worked with three group members to create a Google doc presentation that we narrated in Slideshare.

Two AECT standards were met during this assignment:
3.1 Media Utilization: the systematic use of resources for learning
For this assignment I used various resources for collaborative learning and sharing, including Google apps (docs, presentation, survey) and Slideshare.
5.4 Long-Range Planning: focuses on the organization as a whole is strategic planning….Long-range is usually defined as a future period of about three to five years or longer. During strategic planning, managers are trying to decide in the present what must be done to ensure organizational success in the future.
Long-range planning was a key component of this assignment. I was required to proactively think through the next 3-5 years and develop a plan accordingly. Technology committees are tasked with continually assessing the present and planning for the future. This is a crucial role in the overall success of the school or institution.

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RSS Feeds for Education


Gretel’s Shared Items on Google Reader

This is a link to a few educational technology RSS feeds I subscribe to and have shared publicly.

This week in EdTech 501, I explored RSS feeds in depth. This is a new tool for me, one I have not utilized much. If used effectively, Google Reader can save a lost of wasted time online by bringing the things I’m interested in to me, rather than me having to search for them. I included this reflection on our class forum, which I’ve copied below:

I was thrilled to dive in to RSS feeds for this assignment. I’ve been vaguely familiar with the term, and have subscribed to a few feeds in Google Reader, but I’ve never realized what a time-saving tool RSS can be. For so many reasons, I find myself wanting to use Google Reader more efficiently to minimize wasted time online. Teachers and students alike can benefit from using RSS feeds effectively.Teachers can use RSS feeds in a number of ways to make their classroom more efficient, and at the same time help their students gain some valuable time-management skills. Teachers can subscribe to their favorite blogs, journals, technology updates, news feeds, and any other curriculum material that will enhance the learning environment in their classroom. They can suggest curriculum-related sites for their students to subscribe to. Teachers can collaboratively make their own material available for others.Students can also benefit from RSS, such as subscribing to updates from the class blog, research forums, interest groups, clubs, and extracurricular activity pages. On a personal level, they can subscribe to friends’ blogs, receive news and sports updates, and keep abreast of anything of interest to them. Sharing feeds publicly could also be a good research activity for students on a given topic. If shown how to use Google Reader efficiently, students may find it to be a powerful tool.

Perhaps the biggest advantage of RSS, and why it is a tool worth mastering, is that it saves time. Rather than spending time surfing the Internet, wondering what’s new, hoping to stumble across pertinent information, teachers and students can have relevant information delivered directly to them through their feed reader. It is like having a personal assistant out there scouring the best of the web and delivering it right to your door.

Sounds good to me…

 

Horizon Report Tech Trend

Yesterday I was thrilled to discover that the ACCESS program I volunteer for is receiving a Kindle for their students. This is excellent news! They will be pre-loaded with U.S. based news, literature, and English-language instruction materials.  I’ve been asked to help train the students and teachers on how to effectively use this device. I was elated to volunteer my services and think the Kindle will be a wonderful tool for these students, most of whom have never owned a book of their own.

The funny thing is: I don’t own a Kindle. In fact, I’ve never even looked at one. I’m an iPad devotee, so I use it as an ebook reader. Now I have added incentive to purchase a Kindle, or at least become familiar with one. I have a hunch it won’t take me long to figure it out.

I’ve developed a lesson plan that will help me introduce this device to these students and their teachers. I’m not sure how to share a small handful of Kindles among a large class of students, but we’ll figure it out. One or two is better than none. These students come from underprivileged backgrounds and most have not used individual devices at all. The Kindle will open up a lot of doors for them, even if they can only use them while in class.

Since they are studying English, they will appreciate being able to look up definitions of words become familiar with American literature and newspapers.

In our EdTech 501 assignment forum this week, I made the following notes about ebook readers in general. I thought it would be useful to repost here:

1. E-books are significant in many ways and are becoming more widespread than ever. In 2010, they appeared on the mid-term horizon, but this year they were promoted to the One Year or Less horizon. This is in large part due, according to the Horizon Report 2011, to “the ready availability of both reading devices and digital content” that makes it “very easy to integrate electronic books into everyday portable computing” (HR 2011, pg. 8). In short, more people have devices that do more, thus making e-books more feasible and practical to incorporate into daily digital life. Tablets such as the iPad and Samsung Galaxy have blended the ability to browse the Web with electronic books, thus creating a “new class of tools” (HR 2011, pg. 8).

The Horizon Report 2011 points out that “the most interesting aspect of electronic books, however, is not the devices they are accessed with; it is not even the texts themselves. What makes electronic books a potentially transformative technology is the new kinds of reading experiences that they make possible. (HR 2011, pg. 8)” I found this so interesting, and it caused me to reflect on reading in general and how I interact with books. It also caused me to look at how my own children learn (by engaging with the material) and it is no surprise that electronic books can really make a difference in teaching and learning. They create a new world of possibility for everyone involved: students, teachers, and publishers. The sky is the limit with what can be accomplished. Reading is no longer a solitary, words-in-print experience. It can be a social, engaging, collaborative, and tactile adventure.

2. Electronic books are directly relevant to both teaching and learning. E-books are extremely practical. They are compact, lightweight, cost-efficient, don’t age or wear, and are continually current. Even still, in order to be fully integrated in the classroom, there are real challenges, especially in education. Scholarly texts, including textbooks, must be more readily available. The Horizon Report 2011 adds that digital rights management (DRM) issues and constraints need to be sorted out, and that e-books need to be made available on all platforms. (HR 2011, pg. 9)

Steven Johnson paints a fascinating picture in the New York Times about how reading has become, for better or worse, a social activity (NYT 18 June 2010). He uses the example of “popular highlights” found on e-reader devices that keep track of what others have highlighted and then highlight the same passage on your e-book as well. He says soon we’ll be able to message, see, and interact with those other readers too. This type of collaborative reading experience may not appeal to all readers, especially since reading is often about escaping in solitude. However, this approach in a classroom setting may just what students need to engage and interact with each other. Many kids who have been less inclined to enjoy reading, may find it a more stimulating activity.

I think it is an exciting direction, and it will be fun to see how electronic books evolve during the next few years.

References:

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., and Haywood, K., (2011). The 2011 Horizon Report. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

Steven Johnson, The New York Times, 18 June 2010

Plagiarism Video

This week in EdTech 501, I researched the complexities of plagiarism in a digital world. While some of the information was review, and involved common sense reasoning, much of it was new, especially self-plagiarism and patchwriting.

I then created this video using fun text-to-speech software called Xtranormal. This is a short introduction to some key elements of plagiarism: cheating, non-attribution, and patchwriting.

I mainly used three sources, as outlined below, in my research.

  • The Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA, 2010) proved quite insightful. From it I read that “researchers do not claim the words  and ideas of another as their own; they give credit where credit is due” and “each time you paraphrase another author…you need to credit the source in the text” (pg. 15) The “key element of this principle is that authors do not present the work of another as if it were their own work” and can extend to ideas as well (pg. 16) Self plagiarism happens when you “present your own previously published work as new scholarship (pg. 16). “The general view is that the core of the new document must constitute an original contribution to knowledge. (pg. 16)” This idea of self-plagiarism makes sense, but I have never thought of it in this way.
  • Boise State University’s Student Code of Conduct Section 18 on Academic Dishonesty is also helpful. It states, “The term ‘plagiarism’ at its most basic level means to steal someone else’s words, composition, research, and/or ideas. Plagiarism is both cheating and theft. Given the seriousness of this offense, students have a responsibility to understand its meaning and implications for the academic community. Plagiarism can be committed in any type of assignment.” Some examples listed are: quoting or paraphrasing another’s work (including ideas or research) without citation, and using the services of anyone who sells term papers or similar academic materials. Violations may result in sanctions, ranging from a warning to expulsion from the university. Plagiarism is serious.
  • Our course syllabus outlines three types of plagiarism: cheating, non-attribution, and patchwriting [I found similar material at Purdue OWL: Contextualizing Plagiarism http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/929/15/] Cheating is defined as “borrowing, purchasing, or obtaining work composed by someone else and submitting it under one’s own name.” Non-attribution is more complicated. Purdue OWL explains that it is “writing one’s own paper but including passages copied exactly from the work of another…without providing (a) footnotes, endnotes, or parenthetical notes that cite the source and (b) quotation marks or block indentation to indicate precisely what has been copied from the source.” It also states that this is often a result of a student’s inexperience (me) and not an intention to deceive. Patchwriting is a new term for me. This occurs, according to Purdue OWL, when
    “writing passages…are not copied exactly, but have been borrowed from another source.” Basically, the student uses large passages of copied text that is linked with other passages of copied text. This type of writing is often easy to spot because writing styles of copied passages vary. It occurs mainly when a student is unfamiliar with the material. I found it interesting that this tool is sometimes used in research, but should not be submitted in “final-draft academic writing.” (Purdue OWL)

This assignment is a perfect example of how BSU’s EdTech program works and why I already love it. I am given a topic to research (plagiarism), and then I get to present it using a new technology (Xtranormal). This type of approach has a double benefit and makes learning more applicable and fun. It could be better implemented by teachers and students of all ages.

Elements of Educational Technology

EDUCATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: The study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using, and managing appropriate technological processes and resources.

(10) Appropriate

The Association for Educational Communication and Technology (AECT)  adds the word appropriate in their 2008 definition of educational technology. This is a key element, especially in a global environment, and in the paragraphs below I will explore why appropriate technology is so critical in the overall definition and practice of educational technology.

At first, I took its meaning to refer to appropriateness of content, avoiding things such as offending language and images. However, as the AECT’s definition article points out, “the term appropriate is meant to apply to both processes and resources, denoting suitability for and compatibility with their intended purposes.”

Further exploration of the meaning, as also noted in the article, demonstrates that appropriate technologies are those that are:
  1. connected with the local users and cultures
  2. sustainable within the local economic circumstances

The AECT’s article explains, “Sustainability is particularly critical in settings like developing countries, to ensure that the solution uses resources carefully, minimizes damage to the environment, and will be available to future generations.”

This statement really resonated with me because of my current experiences. I live in Kathmandu, Nepal, which by all standards is a developing country. There is tremendous poverty and need here.

Recently, I have been given the opportunity teach an ongoing course about technology to Nepali teenagers. These youth, who are aged 14-16 and half male, half female, come from very underprivileged backgrounds. Through a partnership of the U.S. Embassy and the Nepal English Language Teachers Association (NELTA), these students learn English and gain insight and exposure into American culture. They are the recipients of the English Access Microscholarship Program, which provides for them this tremendous opportunity they would not otherwise have. Through donations of it’s members, NELTA now has a computer lab with five computers for the 40 students who meet here in Kathmandu. These computers are older PC models, yet perfectly appropriate, and will give these students access to the Internet. I have volunteered to come in every few weeks and teach them anything I can about technology, how it fits into American culture, and how it can help them in their lives.

This is a wonderful opportunity for me, especially in light of my current studies in the EDTECH program. I have given a lot of thought as to what I will teach them and what will give them the best education possible.

In short, I need to choose both appropriate processes and resources.

Where do I start? How do I begin to expose them to what’s out there? How can I help them see, feel, and experience technology for themselves, in a way that they can go forward and create opportunity?

I will also travel to three remote areas of Nepal, where students participate in the same program. In such places, the need is even greater, as these students have extremely limited computer access and very little exposure to technology at all. As the AECT’s definition article suggests, I need to use tools and practices that are the “simplest and most benign solution to a problem”. I am still trying to sort out what that entails for these children.

Sure, I can bring in my iPad (with all its bangs and whistles) and show some great projections onto the wall. This is important, since I want them to see, feel, and experience the joy and energy of technology. But if, using my iPad and other devices, I can open their eyes to what’s out there, show them tools that will empower them with skills and confidence, and help them access a wealth of resources online, then I have really made a difference. On the flip side, if I can’t teach them skills that will be applicable for them, in their particular circumstances, then my best attempts will not be deemed appropriate.

For example, let’s look at Google docs. What a fabulous tool this is for these students! They will most likely never own a computer, especially one with Microsoft Office and other creative software. Through Google docs, however, they can create beautiful documents, spreadsheets, and presentations. They can search through numerous templates to create a resume or report. They can share with their classmates, and have a safe and secure means of storing their schoolwork. They can do this all from any Internet cafe, anywhere. If they later need to use Microsoft Office in the workplace, they will be familiar with its interface, because of its similarity to Google docs. All in all, Google docs is a practical, appropriate, tool to teach them.


As the AECT’s definition article points out, appropriateness also has an ethical dimension.  One aspect of this emphasizes that since we are a multicultural community, we need to provide “opportunities for culturally and intellectually diverse points of view.”  On the surface, this sounds ideal. But what if, through our exposing these youth to other countries and cultures, we also encourage them to speak up in ways their families or governments aren’t ready for? What are the cultural ramifications of their becoming more technologically literate? These are big questions with complex answers.

Finally, as stated in the AECT’s definition article, educational technologists have a responsibility to be informed, to stay up-to-date on current trends and tools, and to use that knowledge in ways to find the best, most appropriate, solutions for others.

The challenges are real, but I feel it is an exciting time to be involved in technology. I look forward to empowering others through educational technology, and I hope it will help them open new doors of opportunity in their lives.

References:

Association for Educational Communications and Technology. (1977). The definition of educational technology. Washington, DC: AECT.

Commission on Instructional Technology. (1970). To improve learning: A report to the President and the Congress of the United States. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Ely, D. P. (1963). The changing role of the audio-visual process: A definition and glossary of related terms. Audiovisual Communication Review, 11(1), Supplement 6.

Januszewski, A., & Molenda, M. (2008). Chapter 1: Definition. In Educational technology: A definition with commentary (pp. 1 – 14). NY: Lawrence Erlbaum, Inc.

Reiser, R. A. (2001). A history of instructional design and technology: Part I: A history of instructional media. Educational Technology Research and Development, 49(1), 53-64. doi: 10.1007/BF02504506

Seels, B. & Richey, R. (1994). Instructional technology: The definition and domains of the field. Washington DC: Association for Educational Communications and Technology.

http://www.nelta.org.np/projects/english-access-program.html
Nepal English Language Teachers Association

http://exchanges.state.gov/englishteaching/eam.html                                                  English Access Microscholarship Program