Brandon Workentin: EDTECH Learning Log

Using Technology to Improve Education

Archive for the category “3.4 Policies and Regulations”

Definition of Educational Technology

For our first assignment in EDTECH 504, I had to write a definition of Educational Technology. My definition and reasoning are pasted below.

Before I started taking classes at BSU, I thought of Educational Technology as the hardware and software that was used in class. I viewed the tools that we had available as being what technology is. Learning about educational technology, then, meant learning about what tools were available, and learning how to use the tools I had more efficiently.

My definition of Educational Technology has grown over the last couple of months, though. Now, my working definition needs to include how a teacher can set up the learning environment to be most beneficial. The tools of educational technology are still there, but the focus has shifted to the whole learning environment instead of just the use of tools. Creating and managing the learning environment in new and different ways is something that educational technology allows us to do. As Hlynka and Jacobsen (2009) pointed out, these different jobs have historically been done by different people. Textbook writers created content, teachers managed the classroom, and students did the work. Now, teachers can curate their own content, or students can find their own content, and so on. The roles can blend together through the use of educational technology..

My working definition of Educational Technology will also need to include something about the goal of the technology being to improve learner experiences and outcomes. As Luppicini (2005) says, Educational Technology can be viewed as a “goal oriented problem-solving systems approach” (p. 107). The goal isn’t just to use the best, shiniest new toys. The goal is to to improve the current state of affairs in education. This can only be done by having a plan for how the technology will be used at all levels, from the classroom, to the district, to the state and national levels.

To put it all together in a succinct definition, I would say that Educational Technology is the systematic use of all available tools to create, manage and use a learning environment where students are able to have authentic experiences and improve their educational outcomes.

References

Luppicini, R. (2005). A Systems Definition of Educational Technology in Society. Educational Technology & Society, 8(3), 103–109.

Dorbolo, J. (2003). Alan Januszewski, educational technology: The development of a concept [Review of the book Educational technology: The development of a concept by Alan Januszewski ]. Ethics and Information Technology, 2003, 5(1), 68-70.

Hlynka, D., & Jacobsen, M. (2009). What is educational technology, anyway?: A commentary on the new AECT definition of the field. Canadian Journal of Learning & Technology, 35(2), 9.

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School Technology Use Evaluation

For this assignment, I performed a survey of the technology use at my school. The Technology Use Maturity Benchmarks had five main categories. It looked at technology use through administrative, curricular, support systems, connectivity, and innovation filters. The results of the survey are shown below. One thing to note, when it says “MS” in a category, that is because I would rate that category different if I were only rating the Middle School classes at our school. The “x” would be if I were rating the school as a whole.

After taking the survey, I then wrote an evaluation of the technology use at our school. That evaluation can be found below.

From completing this assignment, I learned several things. The only area where our school rated highly was when looking at technology use through the connectivity filter. Our school has a good wireless Internet system in place, and we had very few problems with connection issues last year. That at least sets us up to be able to improve in other areas. It was a little difficult to complete the survey because I was torn between rating what happened last year, and what I think will happen going forward. I ended up focusing mainly on where we are right now, and not assuming what will happen as we move forward. With a new Executive Director who is committed to streamlining committee and fundraising/grant-writing processes at the school, I think that some of the areas would be rated higher if I did the survey again in one year.

This assignment also made clear to me just how much of a hurdle it is to start a new school. Many of the areas where I rated our school low are rated that way just because we do not have systems in place yet. I think that as we move forward with our plans, those things will be an area of focus and will show improvement.

AECT Standards addressed by this assignment:

STANDARD 1 DESIGN Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to design conditions for learning by applying principles of instructional systems design, message design, instructional strategies, and learner characteristics.

1.1 Instructional Systems Design Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is an organized procedure that includes the steps of analyzing, designing, developing, implementing, and evaluating instruction.

This project demonstrated  this standard by thinking critically about where our school is at in the use of technology in instruction, and how we could improve in this area.

STANDARD 2 DEVELOPMENT Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

This assignment used various computer programs to produce and deliver materials to an audience. These included Google Docs, Scribd, Moodle, as well as word processing and spreadsheet software.

STANDARD 3 UTILIZATION Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.

3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization Implementation is using instructional materials or strategies in real (not simulated) settings. Institutionalization is the continuing, routine use of the instructional innovation in the structure and culture of an organization.

3.4 Policies and Regulations Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.

This demonstrated the diffusion of innovations strand because it evaluated our current technology plan and helped me think of ways to improve that plan and make it more relevant for our school. It shows thinking about implementation and institutionalization because that is what the plan is focused on, and it included evaluating the current polices and regulations at my school.

STANDARD 4 MANAGEMENT Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management.

4.1 Project Management Project management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects.

4.2 Resource Management Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services.

4.3 Delivery System Management Delivery system management involves planning, monitoring and controlling ‘the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized’ . . . [It is] a combination of medium and method of usage that is employed to present instructional information to a learner.

Evaluating our current technology use plan, or lack thereof, is a part of planning and monitoring development projects and our resource systems.

STANDARD 5 EVALUATION Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

5.1 Problem Analysis Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.

5.2 Criterion-Referenced Measurement Criterion-referenced measurement involves techniques for determining learner mastery of pre-specified content.

5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization.

5.4 Long-Range Planning Long-range planning that 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.

I analyzed the problems that our school has in our current uses of technology. I evaluated the current technology use at our school, and in completing this assignment began talking with our Executive Director about our long-range goals for technology use.

Technology Use Planning Overview

Technology use planning is the process of creating a plan for how a school, district, or larger entity will integrate the use of technology into the daily life of the schools, as well as the final written document that records that plan. It includes the acquisition and upkeep of hardware and software. But, that is not all it is. An effective technology use plan includes how that technology will be used in the classroom, and how teachers, students, and administrators will be trained in the most effective use of the technology they have available.

The National Education Technology Plan 2010 (NETP 2010) can be a powerful guiding document in the area of technology use planning. It provides the framework for what areas of education can be improved by the use of technology, and how educators and policymakers can go about making those improvements. By using a document like the NETP 2010, teachers, administrators, and state-wide policymakers can have a blueprint for what areas they should focus on. The NETP 2010 has five areas of emphasis, but a couple of them are key areas that affect a classroom teacher.

One area that I think is important is in the area of assessment. The report puts the goal of assessment to be to “measure what matters.” It can be very time-consuming to do all the progress monitoring that good teaching requires. A computer can grade a test or quiz in real-time, and then that information can be used to adjust the teaching, instead of waiting until the end of a lesson or unit to find out what was learned. The report says, “For this to work, relevant data must be made available to the right people at the right time and in the right form.” Accomplishing this goal would go a long way in transforming state-mandated tests from not just a stress-inducing requirement, but an actual tool that can be used in the classroom.

The overarching goal of the NETP 2010 for teachers is to enable connected teaching. If teachers are able to connect with other professionals, they are able to learn and share best practices. As the report states, “The technology that enables connected teaching is available now, but not all the conditions necessary to leverage it are.” Teachers need to be trained in what is possible and how connected teaching can help them to be better teachers. Unfortunately, not all teachers are interested in learning that type of thing, but the more we can make the expectation be that teachers are a group of connected people, working with and teaching and learning from other educators all over the country and world, the sooner we will reach the goal of having connected teachers.

Other areas of the report deal with providing the infrastructure necessary to use technology effectively. These areas, including the use of 1-to-1 technology called for in the report, are beyond the scope of a teacher to implement successfully. In this regard, something like the NETP 2010, provided by the federal Department of Education, can serve as a siren-call to policymakers and administrators of not just what is possible, but of the necessity of changes.

Technology plans can also be short- or long-term plans. An example of a short-term plan is that my school is buying Deep Freeze for our computers this summer. An example of a long-term plan is that we would like to have tablet computers for students, but it won’t happen for at least a couple of years. John See, in his article Developing Effective Technology Plans, argues that technology plans must be short-term. His reasoning is that since technology is changing so fast, we do not know what we will want five years down the road. I agree with See in that regard. However, I think that there is a place for long-range technology planning. I teach at a small charter school. There is no way we will have the budget in any given year to buy the technology that would help us to be more effective educators. I think a long-range plan is needed so that the budget and time commitments are able to be made, and savings are able to be made to make larger purchases possible.

There is a danger that what you are saving for may not be the best choice when the time comes to make a purchase, but that is when people need to be flexible enough and trusted enough to be able to adapt to changing conditions.

See also says that, “Effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology.” His point is that we need to plan for what we are going use the technology for, not just buy hardware or software without first having an end result in mind. I agree completely with See in this regard. Our goal should be to use technology as a tool in improving learning, not just to have technology in the classroom. We must have a clear vision of what we want to accomplish before we will know what tools will allow us to reach our goals.

I am just starting my path down the trail of technology use planning, since I am still a relatively new teacher. I can remember seeing the giant laser discs when I was in school, which we only watched a few times. Who knows how much money was spent to get the latest gadget then, when it was never really used effectively, at least at my school. I think that as we move forward in planning the acquisition and use of technology in our schools, we need to keep our focus on what the end result will be, and what tools will allow teachers and students to be successful.

List of Sources

Al-Weshail, A., Baxter, A., Cherry, W., Hill, E., Jones II, C., Love, L. T., Montgomery, F., … Woods, J. (1996). Guidebook for developing an effective instructional technology plan (Version 2.0.). Mississippi State University. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/downloads/guidebook.pdf

Anderson, L. (1999). Technology planning: It’s more than computers. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/articles/tpmore.pdf

See, J. (1992). Developing effective technology plans. National Center for Technology Planning. Retrieved from http://www.nctp.com/html/john_see.cfm

Transforming American education: Learning powered by technology. (2010). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Office of Educational Technology. Retrieved from http://www.ed.gov/technology/netp-2010.

This assignment demonstrates experience or knowledge in the following AECT areas:

STANDARD 3 UTILIZATION Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

3.4 Policies and Regulations Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.

This project about formulating the policies and regulations that are involved in creating a technology use plan.

STANDARD 4 MANAGEMENT Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management.4.2 Resource Management Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services.STANDARD 5 EVALUATION Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

5.4 Long-Range Planning Long-range planning that 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.

This assignment showed evidence of long-term planning by describing items that are important in the area of technology planning. It also shows critical thinking in the area of resource management by demonstrating the thought process of procuring materials and writing a technology plan.

Digital Inequality Assignment

For this assignment, we created a narrated Powerpoint presentation to share using authorSTREAM to share it on the Internet. I learned several things from this assignment. I was able to get more experience using Google Docs, which I haven’t used very much before. Our group was a little slow getting off the ground on this assignment, because none of us had much experience using Google Docs to work together so we had to learn about that before we could work on creating the content for the presentation.

It was also interesting to research about ways that different groups are trying to combat digital inequality. There were some interesting things I learned in that regard, such as how important it is to have early exposure to computers in order to have the best chance of finding them useful to a person.

This project demonstrates knowledge and experience of the following AECT standards:

STANDARD 2 DEVELOPMENT Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to develop instructional materials and experiences using print, audiovisual, computer-based, and integrated technologies.

2.2 Audiovisual Technologies Audiovisual technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials by using mechanical devices or electronic machines to present auditory and visual messages.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies Computer-based technologies are ways to produce or deliver materials using microprocessor-based resources.

2.4 Integrated Technologies Integrated technologies are ways to produce and deliver materials which encompass several forms of media under the control of a computer.

We created a narrated demonstration that can be found on the Internet, or could be used in a classroom or conference-type situation. The presentation used narration, as well as recording a presentation so it can be watched on its own, without the speaker having to be right there.

STANDARD 3 UTILIZATION Candidates demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and dispositions to use processes and resources for learning by applying principles and theories of media utilization, diffusion, implementation, and policy-making.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations Diffusion of innovations is the process of communicating through planned strategies for the purpose of gaining adoption.

3.4 Policies and Regulations Policies and regulations are the rules and actions of society (or its surrogates) that affect the diffusion and use of Instructional Technology.

This assignment demonstrates knowledge about the diffusion of innovations since it is focused on how to bring the benefits of technology to everybody, not just those who are lucky enough to be on the positive side of the Digital Inequality continuum. This assignment focused on helping society by focusing on the policies and regulations that could be enacted to help remedy Digital Inequality.

STANDARD 4 MANAGEMENT Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to plan, organize, coordinate, and supervise instructional technology by applying principles of project, resource, delivery system, and information management.

4.1 Project Management Project management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects.

4.2 Resource Management Resource management involves planning, monitoring, and controlling resource support systems and services.

As a group, we had to work together to get this assignment done. We had to plan roles, communicate effectively with each other, and perform tasks both independently and as a group. The project itself is also related to the management of resources, and how to make access to resources more equitable.

STANDARD 5 EVALUATION Candidates demonstrate knowledge, skills, and dispositions to evaluate the adequacy of instruction and learning by applying principles of problem analysis, criterion-referenced measurement, formative and summative evaluation, and long-range planning.

5.1 Problem Analysis Problem analysis involves determining the nature and parameters of the problem by using information-gathering and decision-making strategies.

5.4 Long-Range Planning Long-range planning that 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.

We researched the problem of digital inequality, and several different ideas for how to remedy this problem. We then ranked those ideas, and decided what  the best options were if a state were to receive money to help combat digital inequality. We had to plan what could be done to help fight digital inequality as we move forward into the next several years.

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