EDUC 515 - Evolving Educational Technologies

My goals in this class:
I hope this course will help me gain a more thorough understanding of how to implement technology in my future classroom. I'd like to use the knowledge base in this area to create efficient and interactive unit, lesson, and activity plans that will engage my students and allow them to participate in active learning.


Educational Technology Prior to 1990:

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Hello everyone. I am Miss Watkins a teacher and coach in Ventura County, Ca. So the question is, what do I think is the most important educational technology before 1990?
Well that becomes difficult ; at first the word technology springs out images in my mind of computers, cell phones, video games, dvd or blue ray players, and huge flat screen televisions; all of which are relevant and valid technologies in 2010. But when asked to consider a classroom technology prior to 1990, my mind goes blank.
I tried remembering back to 1989 – when I was 7 and in first grade. As a visual learner, I sincerely appreciated when my teachers would utilize the chalkboard or overhead projector. And like most of my classmates, I enjoyed when the teacher put on a video using the vcr and our modestly sized classroom television.
Although these technologies are monologic tools, which only one way communication, they added another mode of learning to the students of 1989 by enhancing lessons with visuals. The visuals presented on a chalk board or overhead projector were static with no movement and at times no color. The videos shown on the television were animated with movement, audio and Technicolor. That is why I feel that having a television and vcr in the classroom was a cutting edge technology and educational tool before 1990.
Looking back to the generation I grew up in, many of my peers were used to watching television while at home. Although the television was around prior to the 1980s, by the 1990 almost every household was equipped with a television or two. Cable provided many options in program viewing. Movies could be purchased and played at home. TV shows could be video tapped and played back at a later time. It was natural for children in my generation to sit in front of a TV to watch a program with their family, similar to how today’s children are accustomed to using computers. Compared to generations prior to the 1980s, we were the “TV natives” while others were “TV immigrants” in which they were used to receiving information through the mediums of text in a newspaper or audio over the radio.
In the classroom, I remember my teachers using educational programs like Sesame Street, Reading Rainbow and National Geographic videos to supplement our lessons. My classmates and I would feel such excitement when a video was played in class. It was an experience we look forward to and appreciated because it made learning fun. The television and video sped up the way in which we as students received the content. It seemed to also speed up the learning process because it activated the use of multiple senses, intelligences, and learning modalities. Rather than just reading the information in our textbook, or simply hearing the information from the teacher, we were able also see and visualize concepts as we viewed on the television screen.
Although the television wasn’t used daily in the classroom, I believe it added to the effectiveness of lessons. The teachers had to carefully select when to embed videos into their lessons. By second grade we were also filming our own videos. Our teacher would edit and reproduce the videos, but 1990-1991, we were producing our own videos. Of course this called for more technological equipment, but the product was rewarding because my classmates and I were able to view our work on the classroom television.

Can Students Successfully Multi-task? (Essay prompt)

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After viewing a video series on the “Digital Nation” examining the affects technology is having on today’s youth, thought provoking questions came to mind for today’s educational structure. If students today are fluent in the language of digital tools, including the computer, smart phones, internet, etc. then how are the “digital-language-learners” aka educators going to appropriately teach? Is it a good idea to supply students with laptops and internet access? Should students be allowed to listen to their i-pods while working on a project? Would it be appropriate to allow students to text message, chat, or email while attending a lecture? Are students today on some sort of technology overload? These and many more questions swarmed my brain as I watched.
Professor Clifford Nass of Stanford University was featured in the film because of his studies and research on the brain activity of multi-taskers and non-multi-taskers. After conducting experiments and research, he states, “Virtually all multi-taskers think they are brilliant at multi-taking. And one of the big discoveries is, ‘You know what, you’re really lousy at it!’ It turns out multi-taskers are terrible at every aspect of multi-tasking. They get distracted constantly. Their memory is very disorganized. Recent work we’ve done suggests they’re worse at analytic reasoning. We worry that it may be creating people who are unable to think well and clearly.”
All of these technologies are seemingly leading to a student’s ability to multi-task and complete their work efficiently. Students are constantly participating in two or more things at once. For example, they’ll write an essay all while checking their email or facebook account, then send a text message or answer a call on their cell phone. Can this behavior lead to the writing of a successful essay? Is the student focused enough to any of the tasks to critically think about what they are writing, reading or saying? Or is the student distracted by the multiple tasks they are encountering and only offering a percentage of focus to each?
What do you think!? Can students successfully multi-task?
Should technology be credited for a student’s inability to focus on one task at a time? Do you feel students can successfully use multiple technologies and successfully accomplish their classroom assignment? Write an essay addressing your thoughts on this matter. Your essay should be three to five well-thought out paragraphs.
Here’s an extra challenge, try to write it without answering a call or text on your cell phone, going on the internet, watching tv, or listening to your ipod. Good luck.

Propaganda Video - Pro Technology in the education!YouTube