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Don't Just Do IT! 12 Step EdTech Roadmap for K-12 Schools

This manual can help schools with large scale implementation of technology to ensure that that all of the pillars of success are carefully considered. 

• An Introduction to the 12 steps needed to bridge the gap in order to move from current practice to new innovative practices. We know we have to bridge the gap but how can we approach it? 

• A tool for educational organizations to use in order to begin conversations surrounding technology implementation. A place to get the research pointed in the right direction.

PDF Version

Apple's iBooks Version

Be sure to also check out the Podcast we did with 21CL Radio, discussing our manual and ideas about how to effectively implement technology. 

 

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Five Tips for Teaching with Technology

Many teachers struggle to use technology authentically in the classroom to support the curriculum and to enhance teaching and learning. In many cases, it is used as an add-on and the focus in on the HOW rather than the WHY. The result is a lot of frustration and questioning of why technology should be used in the classroom. 

This presentation provides five important tips to consider when using technology in your classroom. 

 


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Ten Apps to Inspire Student Creativity and Innovation

When using tools like the iPad in the classroom, it is important to focus on getting students to create rather than just consume. Creativity and Innovation are important learning skills and are one of the key ISTE Standards. This presentation highlights ten great apps which teachers can use to support higher order thinking skills and active learning.

When combined with good pedagogy and curriculum, these apps can help in transforming how teachers use technology in the classroom. 

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Create Beautiful Interactive books with Book Creator and other Apps

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Book Creator is a powerful app to use with students. They can easily create interactive books which include images, video, text, handwriting and sound. These books can then be exported as a PDF file, ePUB (interactive book) or as a playable movie.

 

  

Book Creator can also be combined with other apps which students have access to to make their books even more powerful:

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  • Students can use Pic Collage to create beautiful graphics which can be saved to the camera roll and imported into Book Creator. 
  • They can create beautiful presentations in Keynote or Pages which include tables, charts and graphs, etc and then save the book to the camera roll to add to Book Creator. 
  • Students can create explainer videos using apps like Tellagami or Explain Everything and save it as a video file to the Camera Roll to add into a book in Book Creator. 
  • Students could create mind maps using Popplet and save this to the Camera Roll to add to Book Creator. 
  • Students could create polished movies in iMovie which can include images, narration, music, sound effects, different speed, etc and then share this to Book Creator. 
  • Use a Stop Motion app like Lego Movie Maker to create stop motion videos for your book. 
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There are may ideas of how you could combine other apps with Book Creator to add beautiful content to your books. This site has some videos and other information with some great ideas as well. Also, take a look at the Book Creator Channel on Youtube to get more ideas of using Book Creator in the Classroom

The real power of using Book creator is the ability for you to share books so that students can read each other's books. If students are on the same account, simply open books in iBooks and create a Collection with all the books organized together. If students are using different accounts, have students upload their books to a Shared folder in Google Drive. They can tap on each book and choose to Open in iBooks on their iPad. They can create a collection to keep the books organized. This is a great way for students to build audience and to learn from each other. You could share with other classes or even across campuses to get great collections of students created projects and stories. 

 

Have your students created some their own unique books using Book Creator? Please share some examples of their work. 

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A Pedagogical Model for the use of iPads for Learning

Over the past several months, my team and I have been busy planning for the implementation of a One to World (often called 1:1) iPad program in grade 4. We have been successfully using iPads since 2011 at our school and have been piloting a One to World programme in three grade 4 classes throughout this year. The program has been enormously successful, largely because we focused primarily on learning outcomes rather than the device itself. 

Pedagogy plays an important role in the successful implementation of any new programme. It helps to guide teachers in effective implementation and sets the foundation of what effective implementation actually looks like in the classroom. In developing our own model for the One to World Programme in grade 4 and choosing apps for teachers and students to use, we turned to research as well as to pedagogical models for learning and technology integration.

The key models that we looked at were Bloom's Taxonomy (using Bloom's 21), the Learning PyramidSAMR model for technology integration and the ISTE Standards. In addition, we are guided by the school's Mission (Engage, Enlighten, Empower), the IB framework and the Visible Thinking initiative. These models, as well as other popular models, all point to the same fundamental belief that students learn best when they are engaged in meaningful learning activities where they are given the opportunity to learn from each other and share their ideas and thinking with others. Inquiry Based LearningProject Based LearningConstructionismConstructivism, and so forth, all advocate for student-driven learning.

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In combining the different models into a pyramid, the focus on learning is on the bottom of the pyramid where the focus in on higher order thinking skills and activities which promote collaboration and creation. From the perspective of the SAMR Model, the aim is to move towards Redefinition so that learning can be transformative. The ISTE Standards sit outside the pyramid since these skills are interwoven throughout the curriculum. 

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Apps were placed on the pyramid based on the types of learning engagements which they promote. Those at the top serve more as digital substitutes for traditional classroom tools such as calculators, dictionaries, manipulatives and maps. They add interactivity but do not promote significant changes to how learning activities are designed. As we move down the pyrmaid, we find apps which focus more on shifting learning itself by promoting problem-solving, critical thinking, communication and collaboration and creativity and innovation. They help promote more student-centered and participatory learning and the transformation of learning itself. 

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This is not to say that there is not a place for apps at the top of the pyramid. It is natural to work through the SAMR Model throughout a lesson or unit or to spend some time on teaching styles such as lectures of demos. Important, however, is that teachers ought to recognize that they should work towards focusing more time and energy on learning engagements which are in line with the lower end of the pyramid.  

 

This model was created as a Keynote presentation and recorded to explain it in more detail. A link to this presentation can also be found in iCloud. I would appreciate feedback from others on this model and how it could be improved.

 

The full list of apps we are using can be found here 

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iPads in PE

 I recently had the opportunity to join our PE team at a PD hosted by Jarrod Robinson - also known as the PE Geek - on integrating technology into PE. Jarrod introduced us to a number of great tools and resources to help PE teachers make better use of technology in their lessons. As he pointed out, professional coaches have long been using cutting edge technology to train athletes and mobile devices now make it possible for anyone to access these kinds of tools at a fraction of the cost and with much greater ease. Our PE teachers enjoyed the practical, hands-on focus of the PD and have already started implementing what they have learned into their classes.

With the rise of mobile devices and app based learning, there is now an enormous selection of affordable tools for PE teachers to choose from such as apps for video analysis, replay, tagging, communication, assessment, health tracking and so forth. The ability to have all of these tools in one device that fits in your hand has transformed the ability to use technology on the fly.

According to Jarrod, there has been a thousand fold increase between 2011-2012 on Google searches for apps related to PE. This shows that the demand for technology integration is not limited to the traditional classroom and is expanding to various other subject areas. PE teachers have often been overlooked in the push to use more technology in the classroom and it is great to see that more resources and PD opportunities are opening up to them.

Here is a list of some of the apps that teachers learned during the PD:

 

Coach's Eye 

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 This is an essential app for any PE teacher or coach who wants to capture what students are doing and guide them to improve. The app enables you to record a video and then do a voiceover together with screen annotations. Video analyses can easily be saved and shared, making them ideal for providing students and parents with feedback on how the child can improve. This app, although designed primarily for coaching, would also prove useful in any classroom.

 

 

Bam Video Delay 

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 This is another great app for offering students feedback on specific skills. You can set the app to record what students are doing and set a timed delay so that they can replay what they did to be more aware of what they need to do to improve. The app can be set to record one screen or bring up four different screens, each having separate time delays. 

 

 

 

 

Sprint Timer 

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 This is a great photo finish app which utilizes the same technologies as professionals to show the winners and their times. The app can be activated by the start gun or whistle and provide either a photo or video finish. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SloPro 

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Slow Pro is an app that is great for PE but could also be used in multiple subjects where you want to slow down the movement of an event to analyze it. The app works great in conjunction with Coach's Eye where you could slow down the video and then offer video analysis. 

 

 

  

Dartfish Easy Tag 

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 Easy Tag is a multi purpose app which can be used across a variety of subject areas. You can set criteria that you are looking for and tap the box each time you see evidence of it happening. In PE, this could be looking for evidence of specific skills in a sport. Given than teachers can set the criteria and boxes as they like, this app as a lot of flexibility.

 

Coach Note 

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 Coach Note is a must have app for coaches who want to go over plays with players. There are templates for multiple sports and you can also add your own custom ones. With a variety of tools and the ability to record and share your coaching, the app is quite powerful. One suggestion for using this app is to have a portable projector so that you can coach small groups of students during a game or on the go. 

 

 

 

 Health Apps: 

 

Cardiograph 

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Cardiograph really shows how app creators can use mobile devices in innovative ways that you would not think would be possible. By placing your finger over the device's camera, you can record your heartrate. This can be a useful tool in a PE class and eliminates the need for a separate heart measurement device.

 

 

iMuscle 

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iMuscle is a beautiful app which focuses on muscles to help people exercise more safely. It includes interactive 3D models which help target those muscles for improving overall fitness.

 

 

 Virtual Heart 

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This app provides an interactive view of the heart and how it looks with different heart rates. The app would work in conjunction with cardiograph where you could match the student's heart rate with what it would look like using the Virtual Heart app. 

 

Digital Portfolios and Assessment: 

 

Easy Assessment 

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This app  makes it easy for teachers to assess students using rubrics. They can import class lists as a CSV file through Dropbox or add students and classes manually. This can be a great way to gather evidence of student learning which can be shared with parents during conferences. The key drawback at this point is that the data lives on the device itself and can not be shared via the cloud.

Three Ring  

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Three Ring is an app that I have written about previously and has enormous potential for assessment and ePortfolios. It now has the ability to add student and parent accounts and allows educators to share everything in the clous. The major drawback I discovered during the PD is that you can not upload videos from your camera roll but only directly through the camera. This is problematic for teachers who want to record several videos for editing or to add videos created in apps such as Coach's Eye. 

 

Google Drive  

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If your school uses Google Apps, Google Drive is a great way to share content with your students and parents. You simply use the Google Drive App to upload photos, videos and screenshots to your Google Account and you can create folders which can easily be shared. 

Evernote 

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Evernote is one of the most popular apps available and works on virtually every device. You can create notebooks for your various classes or students and upload photos, notes and other content. The largest drawback with Evernote is the inability to upload videos. 

 

 

QR Codes and Augmented Reality

QR codes have become a popular way to make displays more interactive. Our teachers have been using it with their display boards as a way to link to videos that have been uploaded to Vimeo. There are lots of free apps to scan these codes, making it easy for visitors to your school to access the media that is linked to the codes. My favorite app for creating and scanning QR codes is Qrafter Pro .  The Physical Educator Website has some great printable QR Code Poster

Aurasma 

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In a previous article, I pointed out how easy it is to make displays interactive using the Aurasma Augmented Reality App. Unlike QR Codes, you can embed the media by interacting with the image itself and the content is uploaded to Aurasma's servers. This makes creating Auras much faster than QR codes and eliminates the need to print out separate, somewhat unattractive, QR codes. The app is free to download and is available on multiple devices as well. The drawback is that users will need to specifically download this app and subscribe to your channel. It is somewhat more difficult for them to know how to use Aurasma compared to QR codes which can simply be scanned with any supported app.

 

Some Suggestions: 

  • Our PE team has been testing out devices over the past few months and were given an iPad, iPod Touch and iPad Mini. They determined that the iPad Mini is the best device for a PE teacher since it is large enough to do some editing and small enough to hold in one hand. 

 

  • Be sure to get a good case for any devices used in PE. We decided on the the Griffin Survivor Case which provides great shock and water protection. 
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  • Consider wireless solutions for projecting to screens in a gym or other space. Our school is currently testing out the Apple TV as a way to wirelessly project any Apple device. This works great but can be tricky for your IT department to set up since it is designed for a home network and not an enterprise one. It requires turning on multicasting and may involve licensing fees through companies like Cisco. Other options include apps like Reflector which allow you to connect your computer to the projector and project your iPad through the computer. This works pretty much the same as the Apple TV but requires the addition of a computer. 
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  • Consider the purchase of a pico projector, tripod or iPad stand and and a portable screen. This would make it possible for PE teachers to project anywhere, which could be very useful when playing outside or when there is a bit of time before a game to allow for some last minute coaching. In fact, we are thinking about putting together a PE teacher kit which could fit into a gym bag that PE teachers could carry with them which would include an iPad Mini, mini projector and screen, tripod and possibly a device called a Swivl

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Tips for Successful Technology Integration


Schools around the world have come to see the potential of the iPad and other mobile learning devices in the classroom. Because the adoption of these technologies in education is such a new phenomenon, many teachers are finding themselves struggling to effectively integrate them into the classroom.


Get the new technology into the hands of teachers early

One of the mistakes that is too commonly made in schools is putting new tools in teachers hands and asking them to start using them without sufficient training or lead time.
If you want teachers to naturally integrate the iPad (or any other new tool)  into the classroom, you need to sell them on the value of the device. We were fortunate that our iPads arrived before summer vacation and encouraged every teacher and support staff to take one home for the summer. If possible, I would recommend putting these new tools in the hands of teachers at least six months in advance and offering PD sessions prior to using them in the classroom.


Start Small

I was very eager to get teachers using the iPads in creative ways, but quickly realized that many teachers were feeling overwhelmed and were not ready to take big steps. By attending planning sessions, I was able to find specific curriculum areas where each grade could focus on using the iPads more. We started with the goal of a unit (rather than an app) and then found ways to use the iPad to support the goal. If nothing else, teachers may want to start using the iPad as a way to document learning and class events.


Provide ongoing PD and Support

This is key to successful integration and does not need to involve several formal PD sessions throughout the year. What is essential is offering PD as it is needed and will often involve sitting in with a grade team or individual teachers to help solve their problems quickly. By having a flexible schedule, I was able to get into classes when needed and work with teachers individually when they were feeling stuck. In many cases, this might just be to teach them how to share a video with parents, but the support helps to reduce frustration and anxiety.


Leverage the Early Adopters

Not every teacher is going to be excited to change the way they have always done things to try something new. Many will resist change and will question the value of adding more technology to the classroom. The easiest way to convince these teachers is not to lecture them but to instead work closely with the more passionate teachers on projects that are willing to try. These teachers will spread the word and their optimism can become infectious.


Come with a plan for sharing content

Finding efficient ways to share content from the iPads has been one of the most frustrating parts of using them in the classroom. Since they were designed to be a personal device, it is not easy ways to keep content organized and shared. In a previous article, I wrote about solutions I came up with to deal with the headaches of sharing. Picasa has proved to be a great way to share photo albums and getting a Vimeo Plus account is a good idea for sharing large video files. Apple’s iCloud service can be a good way to back up your photos and documents to the cloud.

Come up with a plan for Sharing among teachers

Before the deployment of iPads, our school had a computer lab which teachers booked at least one period each week. However, this approach was not consistent with our beliefs about effective technology integration and we decided to move away from the computer lab model.

We had enough iPads for a 1:4 ratio so I decided to put at least a few iPads in each classroom (3-6) as well as to make some available in a cart which could be borrowed when needed and returned when not. Teachers were also encouraged to share with each other to get a class set when needed. This has not been perfect, but overall has worked well for most teachers.

Come up with a plan for syncing apps and the devices

When I started my job as a Technology Literacy Coach, I never imagined that I would need to spend so much time managing the devices. Apple has largely addressed this issue in the US with its Configurator App,  but the Apple Volume Purchase Plan is not available in most countries. I found the best solution for us is to create a separate Apple ID for each grade level and turn on iCloud and auto syncing of apps. This helps to reduce the need to download apps onto each iPad individually. For each grade, you can create folders for apps they need onto one iPad and then sync the other iPads from this image.

Get involved in team planning sessions

In order to really help teachers integrate technology into their classroom, you need to have a good understanding of their curriculum. By attending planning sessions, I am able to get a better understanding of what teachers want to achieve within each unit and research the best apps and websites to help them. I also keep copies of each grade’s long range plans for the year so that I am aware of what they will be focusing on. It is important to not let the technology itself dictate the curriculum, but rather to find the best ways to use technology to support the curriculum.

Engage and empower the students

Engaging students with the iPad is not a difficult job. If you show them how they can creatively use the device to express their ideas, you will get them on board quickly. Empowering students can be more difficult because many teachers are unwilling to give up power in the classroom. They will argue that their students are too young to do some of the things you are asking of them or that they need to be monitored. Kids pick up things early and are often the best teachers for their peers.

Celebrate successes
Let others know all the wonderful things that are being done in the different classrooms as a way to promote and celebrate a culture of technology integration. You can show examples of what students are doing in school or classroom newsletters or displays or even through writing your own blog and sharing your successes with others around the world.

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What are 21st Century Learners and how do we teach them?

 I came across this video from the MacArthur Foundation and the Pearson Foundation while looking for some resources as part of a course I previously took on the ISTE Standards.  The video raises some very important issues regarding the definition of  21st century learners and how to best use technology in education to benefit these learners. 

John Seely Brown, chairman of the Deloitte Center for the Edge, argues the fundamental importance of getting children to embrace change and to get them to have curiosity and a questioning disposition. In referring to the gaming culture, he points out that hard core gamers seek to be measured because they seek to improve and that it is the learning that makes the game fun. 

Seely's arguments have important implications for education. As educators, we ourselves need to embrace change and give children the freedom to be curious and ask questions. We must provide them with the standards and feedback they need to grow as learners. 

 There is a lot of talk among educators of the notion that we must use technology more in the classroom because children of today are digital natives. What exactly does it mean to be digitally native and what implications does this have for the role of technology in education? 

 Nichole Pinkard, founder of Digital Youth Network, doesn't believe that any kid is born digitally native. She argues that kids are born as media consumers but not media producers. In her definition of what it means to be digitally native, it isn't enough for children to just be comfortable with using technology. They need to use it as a tool to actually create new content and new ideas. This is a belief that shared by many people leading the way in pedagogical beliefs about the role of technology in education. 

 At the ICTLT conference which I attended, Keynote speaker, Hall Davidson from Discovery Education, reiterated the point that it isn't enough to use media by just hitting play. He argued that children need to be able to make the content their own by interacting with it and mashing it so that it becomes something new and personal for that child. 

This argument is echoed in the video by Diana Rhoten, Director of the Digital Media and Learning Project, Social Science Research Council.  She states that "part of the opportunity here is learning the content which is very much the 20th century idea around education. But in 21st century, its learning the tools and the skills of remaking that content and becoming the creator and the producer". 

Another one of the keynote speakers at the ICTLT conference was Dr. Larry Johnson, head of the New Media Consortium and co-author of the Horizon Report. He argued that people tend to over simplify what it means to be a digital native by focusing on the idea that children are digital natives by the mere fact that they are so comfortable with using new technologies. He also points out that knowing how to use a tool is not enough to make you an expert. Knowing how to use tools effectively and how to actually create the tools is what is more important. 

 Mimi Ito, Lead researcher of the Digital Youth Project,  stresses the importance of being more active in linking together the informal learning that children engage in outside of school with family, peers and the community, with the formal learning that takes place within the school. 

It is important to not let technology itself drive the learning that takes place. It needs to be used as a tool like any other which is used when needed.  Katie Salen, Executive Director of the Institute of play, argues that technology is something we take out when needed and put away when not. 

Professor Henry Jenkins argues that 21st century skills are not simply technology skills or skills for the workplace but include  "skills for creativity, for civic engagement, for social life -  the full range of experiences  that young people will be involved in in the future". This provides important lessons for how we use technology in education. Students do not just need to be taught the skills of technology to be successful, but rather technology needs to be used as a tool to help students achieve much broader and more important life skills. 

Connection to ISTE Standards

 

"The National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) (now referred to as ISTE Standards) are the standards for learning, teaching, and leading in the digital age and are widely recognized and adopted worldwide."  (ISTE website)

There has been a shift in education away from technology as a subject to integrating technology across the whole curriculum so that students can use it as a tool to develop the key skills needed to be successful in the 21st century. These important skills are included in ISTE Standards for Students. 

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While it is important for children acquire the skills needed to use technology, it is more important that they learn to use technology for much broader learning goals. Students need the opportunity to make the content their own through creativity and innovation and have the opportunity to communicate and collaborate with others, both in the classroom and remotely. In a digital world full of information of all sorts, children need to be taught how to find information effectively and be critical of the information they encounter. They need to understand the importance of using their values to navigate the digital world responsibly and safely. This requires them to have teachers who serve as good role models in the 21st century classroom to enhance teaching and learning. This is why the ISTE Standards for teachers are so important. 

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 It is important that teachers encourage students to be creative and to set up learning experiences and assessments which support such creativity. They must give students the important skills they need to get the information safely and responsibly. This  requires teachers themselves to serve as positive role models in how they use technology and to be lifelong learners who seek to better understand and use technology. Of course no teacher can be really successful in doing this without the support of administrators. This is why the ISTE Standards for Administrators are also very important. 

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 For teachers and students to be successful in the 21st century classroom, they need a larger school culture in which there is forward thinking and a culture which supports effective technology integration. Administrators must provide the resources and training needed for effective teaching and learning with technology and must seek to continue to improve how technology is used in the educational environment. 

Large decision around the use of technology need to look at a number of important factors beyond the technology itself. From a traditional IT perspective, these decisions are often centered around implentation rather than the larger educational goals of integration. Simply adding tools alone is inadeqate and will likely lead to failure. As my colleague, Mike Pelletier often says, "Toolishness is Foolishness"!   A failure to consider all of the important factors leads to increased cost over time and increased techno-stress. 

ISTE has developed the Essential Conditions which guide these decisions for large scale implementation and integration and these conditions should be used to guide the roadmap. Without all of these pillars of strength in place, success will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve.  

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It would be wise for any organization to start by evaluating where they are in relation to these Essential Conditions. ISTE now has an online diagnostic tool which answers these key questions by completing a series of questions which take about thirty minutes to complete. Schools should have a sample of key stakeholders in the school (administrators, EdTech professionals, teachers, parents and possibly even students) and then see where the gaps are. This will help place the spotlight on the areas which need to greatest attention. In a sense, this process is not unlike juggling. The Essential Conditions are like the balls in the air which you need to catch. You must juggle all of the balls at the same time. You can't afford to drop any of the balls if you want to be successful. 

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Ultimately, for technology to be used effectively in the 21st century classroom, it must be used to support the needs of the 21st century learner and the world he or she lives in. Any good use of technology requires a solid pedagogical foundation be in place which supports the learning of the key skills needed for children to be successful in the modern world (creativity, innovation, collaboration, communication, social participation, research and critical thinking skills, responsible digital citizens). When the learning objectives are established in advance, educators will be able to select the best tool available (technological or otherwise) to help their students better learn. 

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Steps towards more effective technology integration

 Whether they like it or not, teachers need to find ways to embrace the technologies that students have around them every day. One of my colleagues often said something which I think is indicative of the  thinking of many teachers who resist technology integration. She argued that we need to get back to teaching reading and writing and the other basic skills that students need to learn. In her mind, technology is just a distraction which takes time away from the more important learning skills. Personally, I think that this is a common response that teachers have when they don't feel confident using new technologies and serves more as a defense mechanism rather than as a logical argument.

     If technology is used as a substitute for the curriculum, rather than as a tool to enhance teaching a learning, then her argument is certainly well founded. It is imperative, however, that technology not just be used for the bells and whistles that it can offer, but instead, its use be well thought out so that it aligns with the curriculum and the pedagogical underpinnings of that curriculum. Learning goals should remain paramount but if technology is a tool which helps to achieve learning goals while also enhancing student motivation and engagement, then why not use it? After all, our students are growing up around computer technologies of all kinds and are comfortable using them for communication, collaboration and finding information. From their cell phones, to online gaming platforms, to personal computers, children have access to amazing tools which we need to learn to harness for the benefit of teaching and learning. 

     Of course, as someone who is comfortable with technology in the classroom, it is very easy for me to make this argument. The reality is that there are still thousands of teachers and schools out there who are not integrating technology (well), largely because they are not quite sure where to get started and their lack of understanding leads to a lack of trust in the role of new technologies in education. 

     Often, the response is to put up barriers to "protect" students rather than to tear down these barriers while also teaching children how to use the technologies responsibly.  Many schools, for example continue to block access to sites which are very popular outside of school, including YouTube, Facebook and Twitter. Are we really protecting students by simply blocking popular social media in schools? Would it not be better to give students access to these sites so that we can take advantage of learning opportunities to get students using these technologies in ways  that helps their learning, while also giving them the skills to use the technologies responsibly and in ways which help keep them safe online? 

      In many ways, the debate over whether or not to allow access to popular social media in schools is not much like the debate over whether or not to offer sex education in schools. In the real world, children are exposed to harsh realities, and educators can decide to either let them deal with these on their own or give them the knowledge and skills they need to be better prepared do deal with these realities. 

     You many be asking yourself how it is I started off discussing technology integration in schools to the banning of popular social media in schools. I think this jump is necessary and one that often gets made when schools consider more access to computer technologies. People are always going to bring up the "what if" questions related to whether or not students will use the technologies productively and safely. What if we give them a computer and they waste time playing games? What if we give them access to email to collaborate and they waste time chatting? What if we give them access to Facebook for community building and they reveal inappropriate details about themselves? What if we let them bring their cell phones to school and they use them to SMS to friends? 

     With all of the pros of embracing technology in schools, there are always the list of cons. But what if we realize this and establish clear guidelines about acceptable use and then trust our students to be responsible? Those who don't act responsibly will have to deal with the consequences just as in the case when they violate other rules in the school.

     To achieve effective technology integration in schools, here are eight suggestions that I have to help make the process go smoother: 

1. Have a technology specialist whose job it is to focus on technology integration.   

The responsibilities could include: 

  • Plan with teachers to ensure that technology is used to help meet outcome goals of the curriculum. 
  • Find the best websites, software, apps, etc which can serve as effective tools to enhance teaching and learning.
  • Provide ongoing PD with teachers as needed to help all teachers feel more confident with using the new technologies and how to integrate them into the classroom.
  • Work with school administrators to establish acceptable use policies for students. 
  • Develop a good working relationship with the IT department so that a balance can be achieved between open access and security.
  • Develop contacts with other teachers and schools interested in technology integration so that experiences and resources can be shared. 
  • Offer information sessions for parents regarding the role of technology of the school and how they can help to ensure that their children are using technology responsibly and safely at home.

2. Provide PD funding and opportunities for teachers to attend workshops and training courses to make them more confident with technology integration. 

 

3. Offer access to at least some popular websites for learning purposes while also having open discussions about how to use these websites responsibly and safely. 

 

4. Listen to what students want and give them some control over the technology tools they can use. 

an even choose student technology leaders who are in charge of aiding other students and teachers with using technology.

5. Allow students to bring in personal devices which can be used in education (cell phone, iPod, tablets, netbooks, etc). 

You could have them sign an appropriate use agreement so that they are aware of their responsibilities with the technology at school. 

6. Celebrate work that has been done using technology. 

This could be done in a variety of ways, including: 

  • A website where all students and parents have access which shows off work that has been done. 
  • Screens around the school (or in the library) which display what children are doing. 

7. Make learning as authentic as possible so that projects are student driven and linked to real life.

Apple's Challenged Based Learning website could help you get started with doing this. 

8. Make sure your school has the infrastructure and access needed for technology integration to occur: 

  • Be sure you have the required bandwidth and wifi access points 
  • Try to avoid having computers being limited to computer labs.
  • Students and teachers should have access to the technology as needed so that its use is more natural and not separated from day to day activities. 

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Technology Integration in the PYP

 

Here is a great article which I came across regarding the integration of technology in the PYP.

It was originally posted on the following site and was written by Shannon Doak

 

A vision of collaboration, cooperation and more productive student achievement

Thinking of my job responsibilities for the coming year, has lead me to consider what will be the best method to implement these responsibilities. I decided to do some research into what the IBO thinks about ICT and the role it plays in the PYP. I did this to better understand what my role should be. According to Making the PYP Happen. “ In the PYP, the ever-increasing impact of information and communication technologies (ICT) on teaching and learning is recognized. It is recommended that all staff be trained to learn how to use any technologies provided for them by the school, and that the use of the available technologies be integrated into student inquiries. “

The part which immediately caught my attention was the sentence , about how all staff should be trained to use the technologies provided by the school and integrate them into student inquiries. Two ideas come to my mind after reading this statement.

  • ICT in the PYP is not a separate subject it is considered a tool that will, if integrated into student inquires, help to deepen understanding and increase student achievement.
  • Technology should be integrated into the classroom environment as much as possible, as this approach lends itself to making more and deeper connections and also helps to create a community of learners.

    I then wondered if the IBO also agreed with my conclusions, so I read a little further. I found out that yes indeed, the IBO agrees with both my conclusions. “It (ICT) is best considered as a tool for learning, albeit with its own set of skills, as opposed to an additional subject area.” and “ICT provides opportunities for the enhancement of learning, and may significantly support students in their inquiries, and in developing their conceptual understanding.” it further states that “Many students will bring previous experience and knowledge that can be drawn upon to enhance the learning of others, including that of the teacher. In fact, it is in this area that a PYP classroom most often resembles a community of learners.”

    So my next pondering was to ask, “What is the best way to set up technology integration to be in line with the ideas of the IBO, to create a POI that integrates these tools to their full extent?”

    As I re-read the statement on the role of the ICT found in “Making it Happen”, I saw a vision appearing in the words they chose to use. This is what I saw,

    Technology is a tool which the classroom teacher in collaboration with the ICT teacher and more knowledgeable students, embark on a learning process in which the technology is used as artifacts, which help to enhance the understanding of everyone in the learning community.

    If this is the case then ICT and Library -Media should be integrated as best as possible in the classroom. The homeroom teacher should have the freedom to use the computer carts, or the lab, or go to the library whenever it best fits within their learning community. Basically, use it when they need it.

    This sounds like a wonderful way for all people to learn and improve their technology skills while deepening their understanding of the central idea.

    The Role of the ICT Person in this Vision

    For this type of learning environment to happen in a more natural manner the ICT persons role needs to change. Instead of being locked into a teaching schedule, full flexibility to be available to teachers as needed would best lend itself to this type of collaboration. The ICT person becomes and integration facilitator who is now ready to be with the students when they need it.

    With this type of flexibility, the ICT person is now available to team teach with teachers in their classroom. The classroom teacher will cover the content and the ICT facilitator will cover the technology. This provides a great professional development opportunity for the teacher (it’s not a special where they leave to correct papers or plan). I can foresee teachers using the facilitator for the first, and sometimes second time they do such an assignment. After that they take it on their own. (The teacher has then been trained to use that specific type of technology. (This is the recommendation from the IBO) The ICT person could also provide professional development to teachers by appointment or after school in open sessions, and help to coordinate TTT sessions.

    This arrangement creates an atmosphere which empowers teachers to teach with technology that is integrated into the curriculum, not divorced from it.

    Needless to say, I was very excited about the possibilities which lay ahead and wondered if other schools had already moved beyond into this collaborative learning environment? So I did some research and was surprised by what I found. Not only have other schools moved in this direction successfully but AISG has also made some important steps in the right direction.

    These other schools already have systems in place which help to facilitate this type of technology integration such as

    • Flexible scheduling and access.

    • a planning process where collaboration is the key to success.

    • clearly defined roles for each participant of the learning community

    • technology integration is actually helping to enhance student learning as well as help teachers become better at their craft.

    The vision I have is a school where the homeroom teachers, ICT Integration Facilitator, PYP Coordinator, and Administrators are involved in the planning process for each unit. Each of the key players has a specific role during the planning process. During this planning, decisions are made as to how best integrate technology. In this way all people involved have a say as to what is happening in the classroom.

    It might look like this

    The central ideas and the lines of inquiry are the main focus that drive the establishment of learning goals. After learning goals have been established, we can then think about how might we best learn, what we need to in order to reach these goals. After this step, we will mix and match and choose activities which will take students in and out of the phases of our Inquiry Cycle: Tuning In, Finding Out, Sorting Out, Going Further, Making Conclusions, and Taking Action. In the next step we will look at formative and summative assessments which will help us see if the students are on track to reaching the established goals. Finally, after taking into account our learning goals, formative and summative assessments, and the learning activities or experiences, we will then think about what tools we will use to help us accomplish this. This is where technology will play a large part, when the relative advantage of using technology is apparent.

    After the planning is complete the homeroom teacher and the ICT teacher work together as a team to implement the plan.

    I began to think of the profile and attitudes. Which of these could be the focus of this new way of looking at technology?

    First, in order for any of this to work, we must first be open-minded to the possibilities that our students are changing and, therefore, our roles as teachers are also changing. Along these lines we must also understand that it is hard to change the way we have been doing things, so we must all be risk-takers as well. Second, everyone involved, from the classroom teachers to the ICT integration facilitator needs to work together in a more collaborative environment, therefore, we must also be cooperative and communicators working to improve the learning happening in the classroom. Whenever anyone tries a new approach it is also important to reflect about what we are doing why we are doing it and how it going. If we can, as teachers, do this, we will be living the learner profile to a greater extent.

    Ultimately, technology and the integration of it within the unit of inquiry, will benefit the students and the teachers involved, as all will be within this new collaborative learning environment.

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