Monday, September 27, 2010

What is Effective Technology Integration for 21st Century Learners

The world is rapidly changing. As such, it is our responsibility, as educators to take action and learn about the changes taking place. In order to do this, teachers need to be aware of what new technologies are available and become familiar with their uses. I believe this to be an important first step in effectively integrating technology into the classroom. In today’s learning environment, it is essential to keep students connected to the real world. Students are more likely to retain information when they are able to incorporate real world experiences into their learning environment. Effective technology use supports connection to real world experiences.

Technology integration must support curricular goals and enhance learning in order for it to be effective. The focus needs to be on the curriculum before technology. The curriculum today places an emphasis on developing 21st century skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, innovation, communication, collaboration, information literacy, media literacy, ICT literacy, flexibility, adaptability, initiative, self-direction, productivity, accountability, social and cross-cultural skills, leadership, and responsibility.

Effective technology integration supports active engagement, frequent interaction and feedback, and participation in groups. Engagement seems to be a key word in 21st century learning today. When students are actively engaged in their learning experience they are more likely to retain information. Feedback is an important aspect of learning. With the use of technology, students can receive feedback not only from their teacher, but also from other students, parents, and even from people across the world. Students are able to communicate and collaborate with an audience extended beyond just the classroom. Students can now engage and actively participate with students across the globe instantaneously. Participation in groups, or working collaboratively, can enhance the learning experience and make it more meaningful.

Effective technology use is focused, creative, relevant, engaging and active, purposeful, and accessible. Technology use can allow students to build conceptual understanding of core content, create and transform knowledge for meaningful purposes, and apply knowledge and skills to interdisciplinary challenges. Technology needs to be used for authentic tasks in order for it to be effective. In order to foster the authentic uses of technology it must support student performance of complex tasks.

Take a look at this website for some great ideas for integrating technology into the classroom.

Check out my SlideShare Presentation I created:

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Blogging in the Classroom

Hi! My name is Kelsey and I was born in Lethbridge and raised on a cattle farm South-East of Lethbridge. I am taking the B.Ed After-degree program and my major is Physical Education. Sports and physical activity have always been central to my life. Traveling is also a passion of mine and I have been fortunate enough to visit some very beautiful places. Recently, I spent two months (June/July) in New Zealand with my boyfriend traveling and visiting family and friends. Here is a video I took of some native New Zealand fur seal pups we came across near Kaikoura, which is on the East Coast of the South Island.

After reading through the assigned readings, I discovered that there are several benefits of using blogs within the classroom. Blogging can motivate students to become self-directed learners and thinkers. These skills will help students succeed not only at school within the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well. Blogs can also motivate students to participate in class, especially those students who otherwise might not participate in class. Blogging provides students with an excellent opportunity to practice their writing skills. Students tend to focus more on their writing and editing when they know their blog entries will be viewed by a wider audience (teachers, parents, peers, and others). This in turn can help to improve their writing skills. Blogs can be effective forums for collaboration and discussion. This collaboration and discussion can help increase the sense of community between the members of a class. A blog can be a great tool for communicating with parents. Parents can access information on special events occurring in the classroom such as concerts, field trips, celebrations, etc. Parents can use blogs to see what their children are learning, what assignments they are doing, and what the classroom expectations are. It helps to build a community between the parents, teachers, and students. Another great benefit of using blogs is that it provides students with an online filing cabinet where they are able to retrieve assignments, readings, handouts, homework, etc. Click on the link below to watch a Youtube video that summarizes some of the benefits of using blogs in the classroom.