GAME Plan Reflection

Using the GAME plan model to integrate technology across the content areas has allowed me to learn more about the possibilities when using technology in the classroom. Sometimes it can be very overwhelming as a classroom teacher to be able to teach all content and still integrate technology and create lessons with activities and projects such as in PBL, collaboration, or lessons that use digital story telling. I will admit that as this unit plan began I was very unsure of how I was going to integrate these technologies into a math content area lesson, however, I am glad that I proceeded. Having the feedback of my colleagues was helpful and having the opportunity to see what my colleagues were doing in their classrooms across content areas was inspiring to me. I feel that I have learned a lot about the resources that are out there which I did not realize. This is helping me to see that technology can really be integrated into lessons even with kindergarten students, it is just a matter of finding age appropriate resources. This new learning will impact my practice because I will be able to use the new resources I have found and feel continue to search for more new resources that can be well applied to lessons with kindergarten students. I am realizing more and more what can be done, even at the primary level!

The GAME plan process is valuable to a teacher because it can be modified and used to help students. All students have learning goals and teachers have the important job of motivating students to reach these goals. Although I will have to modify the GAME plan in order to bring to very simple language, this is something I can use to help my students understand and reach their learning goals, for example if the students have a goal such as knowing all 26 sounds. I will work with the students to state the goal and we can write what “action” they will need to do to meet the goal. I will work through each part of the GAME plan at a simple level and we will revisit the plan as often as needed.

Using what I have learned I plan to continue to integrate technology on a regular basis. Because of what I have learned, an immediate adjustment I will make will be to take more challenges than I would have before and to use technology in all content areas. Before, I would never have considered using digital storytelling in a math lesson, but when I sat down to write out the lesson I was pleasantly surprised at how easily I was able to integrate such technology. I also realized many other lessons and areas that I will be able to use similar resources. For each lesson I wrote, as I was writing, I was also thinking of several other ways that I could integrate the technology in future lessons. I now realize better than ever before, even though I may be limited in some areas of integrating technology because I have such young students, there are many possibilities and resources that work better for primary students than older students!

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GAME plan update…

Both of my GAME plan goals are moving along very well and I am making progress in both areas. My first goal, incorporating technology into my daily activities and lessons with my students, is very strong. I have brought my students to the computers daily for one of the three projects we are currently doing. One project has been for research and understanding of an animal. My students were able to create a digital picture of the animal we have researched yesterday in pixie and image blender. The students were able to use what they learned from their research on pebblego.com to add details in the picture about the animal. I worked on this with our media specialist. We are meeting again on Monday to have the students type what fact they learned and then I will take the students to the computer lab to work in partners on a PowerPoint using the facts they have and give a citation for the information. I have also made progress in this goal because I am now using the computers daily in the students’ math centers. Each day one group is rotating to the computers to work on an activity or interactive game that reinforces what we are learning.

 

My second goal, to create a blog that I will regularly update that can be used to share resources, ideas, and information, is also making progress. I learned more about what most blogs do and how they are set up. I have been observing what other teachers do to maximize their blog and get the most use out of it. I have been searching around more on my current blog just to get a better feel for what is available and what I can do. I am trying to decide if I want to continue with word press, or if I want to use blogspot or another provider. My next step will be to bring creating a blog and work on it as often as I can so that I can feel for all my options. I have also been collecting ideas and resources that I would like to use to share on that blog. Overall, I am making progress and not feeling overwhelmed with meeting my goals!

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It is said that…

It is said that if you expect to follow through with your goals, you need to write it all out. I also think that in addition to writing my goals and my GAME plan from my last post, It only makes sense for me to now explain how I plan to carry out the steps and the resources needed. My first goal (most simply put) is focused on integrating technology into daily and weekly lesson plans (beyond students using software during independent centers). This requires the resources of knowledgeable colleagues who can discuss and offer advice and ideas on how to integrate technology. I have already began working closely with two colleagues who fit this description, my team leader (also getting a technology based Masters and very knowledgeable on how to integrate technology into our curriculum) and our media specialist who has been using technology throughout the year with my students on a limited basis. I have been keeping a folder to save lessons, ideas, and activities that integrate technology that have come from my team leader. I am now beginning to work closely with our media specialist (more when Maryland State testing is finished next week) in order to begin co-teaching with my students on a research project. I will be able to learn and become more confident with how to lead my kinder students on the computers by co-teaching with a teacher who has experience introducing such technology to young students. This has inspired me to begin planning the next project I will do with my students using the mobile lab. I plan to begin this when we finish the research projects!

The next goal I have is to create a blog that I will update weekly and use to communicate resources, ideas, materials, technology, etc, with other primary teachers. I am still considering and exploring the options to also use the same blog (or a different blog) to communicate with other kindergarten classes or even parents. In my current situation I would not use it to communicate with parents because our school population is low income and the vast majority of parents do not have computers and if they have computers they do not usually have internet. The materials I will need are simply the internet and time to explore multiple types of blogs that are set up similar to what I am thinking. I have began looking at several blogs of primary and technology teachers. Some that I have been “studying” and following are:

 http://www.technologyrocksseriously.com/

http://kinderblogger.wordpress.com/

http://larremoreteachertips.blogspot.com/

http://mrsosterman.blogspot.com/2012/03/who-let-writing-out.html

http://www.thekinderpolkadotpatch.com/

To name a few! I will need to really observe and follow these blogs for a few weeks in order to get an idea for I really like and the set up that makes the most sense to me. I will then begin to set up a blog and create it to my own liking. I will first start slow and simply put up some ideas, but I hope to learn how to attach resources and files, etc. This goal is both very exciting and overwhelming for me, so I really want to take time to see how others do it so that I can make it right and reach my goal!

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Get in the GAME

In order to “get in the game” with integrating technology into the classroom I realize that it is important to evaluate my skills and take a look at my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to using technology with my students. After reviewing ISTE’s technology standards for teachers (NETS-T) via http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS-T_Standards.sflb.ashx I was able to identify areas I felt confident as well as areas that need improvement.

 

I feel that the two standards that are my weaknesses are 1. Design and Develop Digital Age Learning

Experiences and Assessments and 2. Model Digital Age Work and Learning. My GAME plan for creating digital learning experiences and assessments is pretty straight forward but very important. My goal will be will take to make sure this happens will be to dedicate one planning session each week to plan an integrated lesson for the following week. I will use the internet to try, find, and practice new activities/programs/and technology that would be appropriate for kindergarten students. I will also work and talk often and closely with colleagues that are also driven to integrate technology into lessons such as my team leader and the media specialist. This will allow me to collaborate and hear new ideas and become motivated to try new things. I will monitor my progress by keeping a record and folder of plans of what I am implementing each week. I can use this to evaluate my lessons and if I am staying true to my goal.

 

 

My GAME plan for modeling digital work and learning will involve a lot of dedication focus. My goal will be to discover and confidently use at least two new programs or types of technology on a regular basis. One thing that I would really love to eventually do would be to create a new blog that is interactive and dedicated to sharing teaching ideas. I may eventually use this blog to create this, but I love going to other teacher’s blogs and finding ideas and resources. I would love to be able to offer resources, links, and ideas of how to integrate technology via my own teaching blog that I would essentially update regularly. I always feel so motivated when I visit these other beautiful teacher blogs. So my goal would be to become extra blog-savvy and also become well versed and confident in at least one other type of new technology. In order to achieve these goals I will have to find and expose myself to new technologies. I will have to look at many teacher blogs and inquire when I don’t understand how something works or what to do. I will also have to speak to colleagues in order to learn more about the technology that I do not yet know about or understand. I will need to spend time just learning and playing around with different types of programs and technology. Once I have come to an understanding I will have to work hard to commit to updating and interacting with said technology on a weekly or even daily basis. I can monitor this by creating check points, such as by the end of May, I would like to have chosen my types of technology and by June I would like to have began posting to my teaching blog regularly. By July, I would like to be posting some simple links. At each check point I will reevaluate and see if there is a need to change my timeline.

 

Taking time to work on my weaknesses will take some work and dedication, but I will be able to increase my knowledge and confidence with using technology in the classroom. I will become more comfortable with integrating technology into my lessons, and therefore I will be likely to use technology more often. This will benefit my students now and in the future!

 

Nicole

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Time to Reflect!

It is always important to take time as an educator to step back and reflect. I find myself with many important personal reflections as I look back on my most recent graduate course on learning theory, instruction, and technology. The first week of the course I was able to take time to think about my personal theory of learning. I proclaimed that I believed strongly in the theory of multiple intelligences, and constructivism. Although this is mainly still true, some additional thoughts and improvements now join my personal theory of learning.
I have learned now that the theory that is more accurate in the classroom is not as much constructivism but rather constructionism. I now have a better understanding of this theory which will help me to use it more effectively in the classroom. In addition, I now understand more about how to incorporate different types of technology and technology tools into any of the learning theories I’ve learned about.
I will now begin integrating more technology into my regular classroom practices by using many of the strategies and technology tools given in this class. I plan to use more concept mapping and graphic organizers using some of the online programs and software programs such as Kidspiration. I also plan to use VoiceThread more actively in my classroom because this is something that can be well integrated into many strategies and age appropriate activities in my classroom. This class has allowed me to greatly expand my knowledge of instructional skills (and tools) which will allow me to create many more engaging lessons for my students.
Two goals I have for improving my instructional practice are integrating student-used technology into my lessons on a weekly basis, and creating a long-term activity or project using technology with my students. In order to do this I will need to practice using many different types of technology and tools, even if I am not fully familiar with them. I will need to carefully plan new lessons integrating this technology and when I teach the lessons I will need to take notes and actively reflect upon what worked and did not work so that I can improve the technology integration of the lesson. I hope to move forward in a way that will allow me to improve as a teacher and help my students through the integration of new technology.

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Voicethread is in action!

http://voicethread.com/share/2165891/
So now I am branching out into the world of technology and I have found something that I feel will be very useful to me in my personal and professional life. Creating a voicethread was mostly easy, yet I still have more to learn.

Please view and give suggestions on my voicethread about interactive whiteboards!

Also, I would love if anyone could reply to this post and leave your voicethread so that I can see what others are creating!

Thanks!

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Social Learning

Social learning has always been a classroom strategy that I have enjoyed using. While it can be difficult to effectively create a cooperative learning environment in which students are gaining the greatest amount of learning, this theory of social learning can give many benefits to students in a classroom. Dr. Orey (Laureate Education, 2010) explains how in social learning, when students are learning through active conversation with other students, it helps them to understand information. Dr. Orey also discusses if constructionism is used in the classroom, under the social learning theory, students can work collaboratively and have the opportunity to build or make something together.

This week I was able to consider the strategy Cooperative Learning from Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works and determine its close relationship with connectivism and social learning theories. This strategy is directly linking to the social learning theory because it is based on students interacting with other students in a way that will allow them to understand new knowledge and have high levels of learning. The chapter discusses how interactions should be set to include components such a accountability, communication skills, group processing, etc. These components support the social learning theory because they ultimately strive to help students learn positive interaction while actively engaged in learning with others. The chapter discusses useful technology that can be helpful to cooperative learning groups, and technology that can be used by the cooperative learning groups. This chapter discusses web-enabled cooperative learning and how useful and realistically effective this can be for a group of students working together to research something or achieve a task.

Cooperative learning can be a very effective social learning strategy when used correctly. Students can learn from one another and learn by teaching one another. Although I use this strategy often in my classroom, I feel that I can improve cooperative learning in my classroom by implementing some technology tools where appropriate and using the strategy suggestions.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology [Webcast]. Social Learning Theories. Baltimore: Executive Producer.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works. Denver, CO: ASCD

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Constructivism and Constructionism… in practice

Constructivism has always been a personally favorite theory. This week’s information and resources has helped me to understand the difference between constructivism and constructionism and how they can be used appropriately in the classroom along with technology. Piaget’s constructivist theory is well known and is well explained by Dr. Orey (Laureate Education, 2010) as when students create knowledge based on their own ideas and building their own learning. This involves using assimilations and accommodations in which students understanding (schema) is altered to fit the external reality, or external reality needs to fit into the student’s understanding (schema). Ultimately, the brain wants to achieve equilibration, where the external reality and understandings (schemas) reach a balance. Constructionism is a theory that is further developed and described by Dr. Orey (2001) as a theory and educational strategy where students will use create something when engaged in learning which will allow students to build new ideas and knowledge.

After reviewing the strategy, Generating and Testing Hypotheses from Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, I was able to analyze the correlation between this strategy and the constructivism theory. This chapter discusses ways that students can create and test a hypotheses such as problem solving, investigating, experimenting, etc. There are many ways that the chapter explains how to integrate technology when using this strategy. Students can use several types of spreadsheet software, as well as data collection tools and the internet. This strategy is connected to constructivist and constructionist theories because as students use a spreadsheet to input predictions and create scenarios to create the completed spreadsheet, they are creating new ideas as they actively engaged in creating the spreadsheet. The same is true for tools such as data collection and web resources because students can build their own knowledge through new ideas as they see the information in what they are creating on the computer.

While some of these tools may not be directly related to what we do in kindergarten, the use of technology tools can be adapted so that this strategy can be used in the classroom and still allow for constructionism. Students may be able to see predictions from a science experiment and the results on a data collection tool. Through the process, students will be able to create new ideas and reach new learning.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology [Webcast]. Constructionist and Constructivist Learning Theories. Baltimore: Executive Producer.
Orey, M.(Ed.). (2001). Emerging perspectives on learning, teaching, and technology. Retrieved , from http://projects.coe.uga.edu/epltt/
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works. Denver, CO: ASCD

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Focus on Cognitivism

This week’s focus on cognitivism has been helpful in understanding cognitive learning theories and how they relate to classroom strategies and technology tools. After reviewing two strategies from Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, I was able to evaluate the correlation between the strategies and the cognitive learning theory. The two selected strategies were Cues, Questions and Advance Organizers and Summarizing and Note Taking. These strategies can be very useful in the classroom and helpful to learners. Knowing the connection to cognitivism will help educators to understand why these strategies can help students and allow the teacher to better implement the strategy.

The first strategy, Cues, Question and Advance Organizers is about using cues and questions to pull higher level thinking with students. Using high level questions within a lesson will create deeper learning and make the creation of organizers more focused. Using organizers to arrange information makes it easier for the learner and relates to the Network Model of memory as described by Dr. Orey (Laureate Education, 2010) in the components of cognitive learning theory. This will help students to make sensible connections with pieces of information, as well as the potential to have images linked to text which follows Palvlo’s Duel Coding hypothesis that students can remember information better when it is presented in a way that is more than only text (Laureate Education, 2010). My experience has shown that this strategy does connect closely with cognitivism because students are able to have a visual for the connects which helps them to think about the information and is more likely to become a part of long term memory.

The second strategy, Summarizing and Note Taking is about teaching students how to effectively look at and pull the most important information in order to summarize a group of information, as well as giving students useful ways to take notes so that the notes are beneficial to student learning and allows the student to remember what he/she has learned. Teachers should give students rules to go by when summarizing and note taking. Giving students templates to organize notes and summarize information can be a useful tool that is also visual. This can also relate to the Network Model of memory. Most importantly, this strategy will help students with information processing. Students will be more likely to remember summarized notes and information, rather than notes taken verbatim. This connects directly to cognitivism because teachers need to lead students in a way that students can move through the three stages (sensory input, short term memory, long term memory) and store information in a network in long term memory. While my kindergarten students may not need to take notes, there are many times in the classroom that I as the teacher am modeling note taking strategies within whole group lessons. This will not only help students to see correct note taking, but it will help students to remember the information and store it in long term memory if I am correctly organizing the notes and using note taking organizers so that information is visually pleasing for my students.

After making the connections to these strategies and cognitive learning theories, I will be able to brainstorm new ways to use this in my classroom so that my students are able to better understand and remember the information being taught. Using the technology tools and organizers are an effective way to implement these strategies so that my students are able to best process the information.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology [Webcast]. Cognitive Learning Theories. Baltimore: Executive Producer.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works. Denver, CO: ASCD

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Behaviorism

After exploring two different instructional strategies from Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works, I was able to consider the connections with these strategies and the behaviorist learning theory and the course materials. The behaviorist learning theory, made popular by B. F. Skinner (Lever-Duffy & McDonald, 2008) is based in the idea of behavior reinforcement. Dr. Orey discusses two parts of behaviorism which are of interest when analyzing how this theory relates to the instructional strategies reviewed. Dr. Orey describes Operant Conditioning which is when desirable behaviors are rewarded and undesirable behaviors are punished (Laureate Education, 2010). He also describes Programmed Instruction which is when a small amount of information is presented and a question may be asked requiring learner response, which will be deemed correct or incorrect. According to Lever-Duffy and McDonald (2008), this approach has made its way into educational technology by way of computers and student activities that create this type of interaction.

The two instructional strategies that have been analyzed and compared for its relation to behaviorism are “Reinforcing Effort” and “Homework and Practice” which are described in chapters 8 and 10 of Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works. The first strategy of Reinforcing Effort emphasizes the importance of student effort in helping students to achieve success. The chapter suggests many rubrics to use with students so that the students are able to rate separate areas of effort within the classroom. This data can be transferred into a spreadsheet using spreadsheet software or online program. Students can see and compare their effort scores and know what areas they may need to improve. This relates to Operant Conditioning in the theory of behaviorism because positive feedback can be given to students showing desirable behavior, which is high effort in the classroom. Likewise, negative feedback can motivate students showing undesirable behavior (low effort) to show more effort in the classroom. This chapter also suggests ways of reinforcing behavior by way of sharing success stories of students, showing students who have put in good effort, sharing surveys of how effort correlates to success, etc. This relates to behaviorism because as Dr. Orey mentions, reinforcing the desirable behavior is the most effective method of conditioning behavior (Laureate Education, 2010).

The second instructional strategy of Homework and Practice displays the need for resources to give students extra opportunities encounter what they have learned through different types of software, multimedia, and online resources. Some of these resources are similar to the idea of Programmed Instruction. Any of the software games or activities, or even online activities that may resemble a tutorial or give other small amounts of information will resemble the first part of Programmed Instruction. Some of the games or activities will finish with a quiz or have questions along the way which will often respond with feedback if the answers are correct or incorrect. This in very similar to the behaviorist view of Programmed Instruction.

The principles of behaviorist learning theory are connected to these instructional strategies, however, some of the information presented in the chapters seems to have taken these basic ideas and improved the basic principles of the behaviorist strategy. It is beneficial to see the connections which can help teachers apply these methods in the classroom with an understanding of the theories behind it.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2010). Bridging learning theory, instruction, and technology [Webcast]. Brain Research and Learning. Baltimore: Executive Producer.
Lever-Duffy, J., & McDonald, J. (2008). Theoretical foundations (Laureate Education, Inc., custom ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., Malenoski, K. (2007). Using Technology With Classroom Instruction That Works. Denver, CO: ASCD

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