Integrating Technology in the English Classroom Megan Saunders EDUC 506
What is Technology Integration? • “Integration is NOT the use of managed instructional software, where a computer delivers content and tracks students’ progress. Integration is NOT having students go to a computer lab to learn technical skills while the classroom teacher stays behind to plan or grade papers… Integration is NOT using specialty software for drill and practice day after day. Integration does NOT replace a teacher with a computer… • Integration is when classroom teachers use technology to introduce, reinforce, extend, enrich, assess, and remediate student mastery of curricular targets.” (Source: Hamilton)
Reasons for Integration • Collaboration • Communication • Creativity • Innovation • Critical Thinking • Problem Solving
Communication & Collaboration • Collaborate – to work, one with another; cooperate • Technology has made it possible to connect with others around the world instantaneously. As students prepare to enter the working world, having the necessary skills to work efficiently with others, either in partnerships or groups, becomes more and more critical. • “The increased use of computer-mediated communication and collaboration is helping…overcome barriers such as time and place…” (Source: Davis & Resta)
Creativity and Innovation “Creativity is ‘coming up with new ideas and unconventional things from an original source’” (Source: Zambroski)
Critical Thinking and Problem Solving • Problem solving and critical thinking refers to the ability to use knowledge, facts, and data to effectively solve problems. Students should be able to think on your feet, assess problems and find solutions. • Try this example: A man needs to cross a river in a canoe. With him, he has a bag of grain, a chicken, and a fox. He can only carry one of the three at a time. If he leaves the grain and the chicken, the chicken will eat the grain. If he takes the grain, the fox will eat the chicken. How does he successfully cross the river with his load? (Source: www.expandyourmind.com) Click for Solution The man first takes the chicken across, leaving it on the other side. He returns alone in the canoe and picks up the bag of grain. After bringing across the grain, he takes the chicken back to the original side, dropping him off, and picking up the fox. After bringing the fox to the other side, and leaving it with the grain, the man returns back to the original side, retrieving the chicken, and making his 3rd and final trip crossing the river. At no point was the fox left alone with the chicken, or the chicken with the grain.
How Does Integration Work? • Students are able to use the devices that they are familiar with in order to create, explore, and take control of their own learning.
Integration does not happen overnight. Technology and innovation do not exist in a void, nor does one new advance automatically spawn another. Integrating technology into the classroom requires the process of administration, teachers, parents, and students in order to succeed. Before any integration can begin, there are eight key areas that must be addressed: FEAR of change TRAINING in basics PERSONAL use TEACHING models LEARNING based CLIMATE MOTIVATION SUPPORT Beginning the Process of Integration Source: Bitner & Bitner
Fear of Change • The first obstacle to overcome when attempting to integrate technology into the classroom is the fear of change. • Schools have long run on traditional methods, rules, and curriculums. Technology is speeding ahead, and schools are struggling to keep up. One contributing cause to this is the fact that teachers often have a great deal of anxiety over change, especially among veteran teachers who have had success in the past with traditional methods. • Integrating technology will require the teachers to become familiar with new devices, applications, and programs that they may never have used before, which leads directly into the next key area: Training
Training in Basics • Schools that want to successfully implement an integrated technology model must be willing to provide the training for their teachers in the use of the new technology. Simply placing the devices in the classroom without providing any background or familiarization will lead to a failure of the program. • Going beyond the basics also means that with the wide variety of applications and devices available on the market, the potential for confusion and frustration is great. Many schools choose to provide the software and hardware that they want to use, in order to provide some unity among their staff, and thus decrease the frustration.
Personal Use • Teachers should be encouraged to use technology for their own personal use outside of school hours. The more frequently technology is used, the more comfortable the teachers will become with the devices and software.
Teaching Models • Teachers should be given the opportunity to explore and evaluate the proposed devices and software before implementation begins. • “An important skill for teachers to develop is that of evaluating software. This will provide them with a base from which to begin to choose which software will best suit their classroom needs.” • Different content areas require different skills. An application that works in the math classes may not be appropriate for a Social Studies class, while a program that encourages the use of English skills may or may not be applicable to a Science classroom. The opportunity for administrators to model and for teachers to explore different software will help to make the integration process smoother.
Learning Based • “Learning should be the impetus that drives the use of technology in the school. Its use can allow teachers and students to become partners in the learning process. Technology integration necessarily alters the traditional paradigm of the teacher providing wisdom and the student absorbing knowledge...” (Source: Bitner and Bitner) • Putting technology into a classroom simply for the sake of putting technology in the classroom will not benefit the students or teachers at all. Technology cannot and should not take the place of the teacher – it should be used as a tool to enhance the learning and exploratory process, but it should not be the only thing that students use to gain their education.
Climate, Motivation, and Support • Failure should be expected during the first stages of technology integration. Administrators need to ensure that their teachers do not lose the respect of their students or the parents if there are initial struggles and difficulties. • A community-wide climate should be created that allows teachers and students alike to explore and learn the nuances of the new technology without being afraid that they will lose their standing (or jobs in the case of the teachers) if something doesn’t work right. • Administrators, teachers, parents, and students must all be willing to provide the appropriate support and motivation for each other during the learning curve.
“There are many issues related to the successful use of technology in the classroom. Some of the more salient include securing necessary annual funding, the development of dynamic plans, and decisions concerning platforms, hardware, TI lines, software, and so forth. While these are perhaps the most obvious considerations, an often-overlooked but crucial determinant of whether technology succeeds or fails in the classroom is a less than obvious one.. .the teacher. While attention to choosing the appropriate hardware and software for the classroom is prerequisite, it is the skill and attitude of the teacher that determines the effectiveness of technology integration into the curriculum.” (Source: Bitner & Bitner)
Applications/Websites in the English Classroom • Watson School of Education @ University of North Carolina Wilmington – Power Point Games • http://people.uncw.edu/ertzbergerj/ppt_games.html • This site contains templates for many different types of content review games. Teachers can create their own games for use in a large-group setting, or students can create their own games to review with in a small-group. • Blogger • https://www.blogger.com/ • Rated one of the best educational sites/applications by Edudemic, this site allows teachers and students to create individual and classroom blogs and utilize collaboration, creativity, and innovational skills. The blogs can be linked to social media like YouTube and Twitter. • Google Drive • https://drive.google.com • A file storage and synchronization service that allows cloud storage and access from any computer or mobile device. Requires a free Google account and the software to be downloaded onto the device. Includes free access to Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Slides (alternatives to Microsoft Office programs)
Applications/Websites in the English Classroom • Penzu • http://penzu.com/ • An online journaling site which allows students to import pictures, customize an avatar, and send their entries securely via email. • Testmoz • https://testmoz.com/ • An easy-to-use, free test creator which will automatically grade the tests and create exportable reports of the test results. No registration is required. Teachers and students can use the software to create and take the tests. Useful for encouraging students to create review quizzes for each other. • Stanza • This is an application that is available on iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad. It is a free app that includes an easy-to-use ebook reader interface, as well as over 50,000 free classic and contemporary works of literature. Although limited to Apple devices, this could be used to replace the need for a classroom set of novels, if a school provided iPads.
Personal Learning Networks • In previous years, teachers had the opportunity to share and collaborate via journal publications, email, and books. In the digital age, sharing and collaborating has become even easier. • Programs like Netvibes (www.netvibes.com), ReMashed (www.remashed.ou.nl), Twitter (www.twitter.com), and Facebook (www.facebook.com) make it easier than ever to link and connect to other teachers around the world and share ideas and lesson plans. • Personal blogs, vlogs (video blogs) allow teachers to post their thoughts and writings where a simple internet search can find them.
Sources: • Bitner, Noel & Bitner, Joel. “Integrating Technology into the Classroom: Eight Keys to Success”. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education. Volume 10. Issue 1. (2002): 95-100. Online. • Davis, Barbara H. & Resta, Virginia K. “Online Collaboration: Supporting Novice Teachers as Researchers”. Journal of Technology and Teacher Education. Volume 10. Issue 1. (2002): 101-105. Online. • Edutopia. “An Introduction to Technology Integration”. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d59eG1_Tt-Q) • Hamilton, Boni. “IT’s Elementary! Integrating Technology in the Primary Grades.” International Society for Technology in Education. 2007. (www.iste.org) • Zambroski, Brooke. “Break Through to Student Success: Creativity Edition”. Pearson Students Blog. 10 April 2013. (http://pearsonstudents.com/blog/break-through-to-student-success-creativity-edition/)