Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

A Whole New GAME Plan

As a professional learner, constantly in search of self-improvement, I have chosen two indicators from ISTE’s National Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for Teachers (2008). I intentionally choose one standard that would influence my work with students and one that would encourage my growth as a tech leader in my building.

Standard 1: Design or adapt relevant learning experiences that incorporate digital tools and resources to promote student learning and creativity (ISTE, 2008).

Goal: To design and implement at least one significant learning experience each quarter that engages students’ creativity through the use of digital tools.

• Brainstorm a list of digital tools I’m familiar with that might enhance student learning.
• Identify appropriate lessons or topics within each unit that would be improved by the use of digital tools.
o Choose one lesson or topic to focus on.
• Identify targeted power standards to be addressed and clearly articulate learning objectives.
• Design assessment rubrics
• Develop assignment handouts
• Identify any necessary prerequisite knowledge and skills
• Design appropriate scaffolding (including fast track, and supported tracks)
o Create supportive materials (handouts, video tutorials, links to useful websites, etc.)
• Create a model project or outline how I will develop a model project along side students.
• Identify opportunities for students to self-assess their progress and reflect on their growth
• Book computer lab time.
• Identify appropriate venues and audiences for student work.

• Identify appropriate formative assessments to monitor student achievement and progress towards final product.
• After each project, reflect on the success and weaknesses
o Record these insights for next year.
o Brainstorm what I’ve learned from this project that might improve the design and implementation of future projects.
• I have three separate core classes each day, so I will be able to monitor and improve my instruction and implementation from one class to the next.

• My growth on this indicator will become apparent as I progress from one project to the next. Although the digital tools will probably change for each project, hopefully, each proceeding project will become easier to design and manage.
o My growth on this indicator is more about the design and implementation of new projects than it is mastering any particular tool.

Standards 2: Exhibit leadership by demonstrating a vision of technology infusion, participating in shared decision making and community building, and developing the leadership and technology skills of others (ISTE, 2008).

Goal: I will advocate for and support the development and implementation of a long-term vision of technology use and 21st century skill development in our building.

• Submit agenda topics to our building technology committee.
o 5 year vision for technology in our building
o Student skill development in the content area (not just tech lab classes)
o Identifying teacher skill development and PD needs
• Create a blog to collect and share web 2.0 tools for students and teachers
o focusing primarily on tools that will enhance student learning and can be easily utilized for various content area projects.
• Share new curriculum ideas within my 7th grade team.
• Assess the needs of my colleagues through informal discussions.

• Monitor the number of staff members that follow my blog.
• Collect feedback from my team about what kinds of projects they are comfortable exploring.

• Documented 5 year vision of technology
• Number of blog posts
• Number of comments and questions in response to blog posts
• Receptiveness of colleagues in trying new things

As I write these GAME plans out and begin to reflect on the power of having a plan in place for my professional growth, I also suddenly realizing the pressure having such a well defined goal and outlined action plan creates. Now that I know what I want to do and have a vision for how to achieve it, there are no longer any excuses for not pursuing these goals. Honestly, this is an unexpected impact of this assignment. I wonder if I could create a similar effect for my students?

ISTE (2008). NETS-T. Retrieved Sep. 15, 2010, from International Society for Technology in Education, Eugene, OR. Web site: http://www.iste.org/Content/NavigationMenu/NETS/ForTeachers/2008Standards/NETS_T_Standards_Final.pdf.


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Unlike science or even math, reading and writing have been a rather static discipline for the last several decades, if not centuries. Not much has changed in the way we write, print and read. One could argue that the use of technology has increased the use of things like text features and in the last 20 years literature has grow increasingly more illustrated with pictures and graphics, but by and large not much else has changed. At least not until the Read/Write Web became prevalent five to seven years ago. Now hypertext, easily embedded pictures, and even the increased use of video content have all changed the way we “read” and write in the 21st century.

So how do I incorporate this new genre of writing into my 7th grade Language Arts/ Social Studies classroom? As Will Richardson illustrates in his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classroms, the opportunities are truly endless. My first step will probably be just to do things differently and have students create learning logs in the form of a Blog. I’m a strong believe in the importance of reflection in the learning cycle. If students aren’t required to reflect on what they have learned, what it means, and how it applies to their lives, the learning is often lost.

In these learning logs they would be asked to regularly reflect on their learning and draw connection to real world applications. Although this is only truly doing things differently, I think it’s appropriate first step for teaching students how to use the technology.

Although this type of reflective journal is a good introductory step for students, the real goal is to begin to do different things. Once they are familiar and comfortable with the blogosphere I will take them to the next level by asking students to respond to anticipatory questions early in the week and to extrapolate on application questions towards the end of the week. For example, as an anticipatory activity for our study of Greek mythology, I would have student explain which superpower they would want to have. Then, after exploring the various myths, I would ask students to explain the role mythology played in the lives of the Ancient Greeks and challenge them to identify similar elements of our own culture.

After students are using deeper level thinking to explore more complex ideas, I’ll begin to have them respond on each other posts: supporting other’s ideas, asking clarifying questions or even politely disagreeing and posing counter arguments.

The whole purpose here is to get students engaged and talking. Sharing their thoughts and ideas. The great things about blogging is that everyone has to contribute. Unlike a class discussion where a few eager hands gain most of the floor time, blogging allows all students an opportunity to contribute thus enhancing the learning for all students.

Although these blogs would definitely showcase their thinking, I’ll use other formats (like student websites) to create a portfolio that showcases their work in a more formal way.

(I thought this was posted last night, but I must have done something wrong. Thank you LaWanda for pointing out that it wasn’t online. Guess the lesson learned is to double check that the post actually appears on the blog after I hit publish.)

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I just stumbled upon this group of videos that explain all of the different kinds of social media (blogs, RSS readers, social bookmarking, etc.) in “Real Plan English.” Granted, the presentation isn’t flashy. But I thinking the simple explanation is easily understood by just about anybody.

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