"I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework."
- Edith Ann, [Lily Tomlin]

Course Participation

Due: Ongoing

Your participation in class discussions as well as reading/exploration responses will account for 20% of your grade. Full participation is expected. Lack of participation in any course activity will result in a decrease in course grade.

Snapshot and Reflection

Due: Feb. 2, 2009

To begin the course, I'd like to get a sense for how you see technology fitting into your future teaching practice. To this end, please create a Word document that provides a "snapshot" of what effective technology integration might look like in your projected grade level as well as general reflections related to technology in teaching. Please create a Word document that addresses the following two prompts:

Given your projected grade level placement and corresponding curriculum content, what would be an example of an effective lesson that incorporates educational technology? Describe the lesson in narrative form, including how the technology would be used.

Reflection Questions:
After you’ve described the lesson, please answer the following questions:
  • In general, when is it appropriate to use digital technologies in your teaching? Why so?
  • In general, when is it not appropriate to use digital technologies in your teaching? Why so?

Please email this document as an attachment to Dr. Hofer prior to class.

Reading/Exploration: Life on the Screen, the Digital Directors Guild, and Podcasting

Due: Feb. 9, 2009

Digital moviemaking and podcasting are two major trends in K-12 schools currently. Easy, free software tools enable students of all ages to create their own video and audio clips and post them online to share not only with their classmates and parents, but potentially with a worldwide audience. There is great variability of how videos and podcasts are created and the purpose they serve in the classroom. To get a sense of why and how teachers are employing these technologies in the classroom please explore the following avenues. As you explore these resources think about what elements of these approaches to integrating technology are appealing to you. What value might they add in education generally and more specifically in your classroom? What types of learning might these approaches be best suited to and what types of students might be most likely to benefit?
  • Read the article Life on the Screen, by George Lucas and take some time to explore the rationale for and examples of digital moviemaking in the classroom at the Digital Directors Guild site.
  • To begin exploring podcasts, start with the Wikipedia definition. From here, check out the podcasting site at Learning in Hand. For even more depth, check out their podcasting booklet. Be sure to take a little time to listen to some teacher and student-created samples.

Reading/Exploration: Extending the Classroom

Due: Feb. 23, 2009

There are a variety of ways to extend the classroom through the use of technology. The Web opens up a vast world of information, viewpoints, and ideas. Students and teachers can connect with others around the world through email and videoconferencing. One particularly popular way to extend the walls of the classroom for elementary students is through virtual or electronic fieldtrips. While no virtual field trip can ever bring the sites, sounds, and flavor of actually visiting a museum, historic site, etc., virtual field trips are increasingly useful for many teachers. Many sites are just not accessible for schools either because of the distance involved or ever-increasing fuel costs. VFT's can be a good compromise, providing some of the benefits of field trips while avoiding some of the biggest challenges. VFT's range from simple tours (3-D or just a series of images and text) to interactive exhibits with extension activities. VFT's can be used to supplement classroom work or provide extension activities for interested students. Many are designed to be self-guided, so they can be an excellent resource for student exploration or research.

For this online case, you'll be working with two classmates in the groups below:
  • Group 1: Ginny, Nesli, and Erin
  • Group 2: Andriana, Jenny, and Kelly

You'll be working collaboratively to develop three products:
  1. a summary/analysis of selected existing VFT's
  2. a conceptual model of VFT's in the classroom
  3. a plan for creating your own VFT

In order to collaborate to complete these tasks, you can use these two wiki pages (Group 1 or Group 2), create a Google Doc you can share, develop a collaborative concept map in Mindmeister, or whatever other way you would find helpful.

Phase 1: Summarizing and analyzing existing VFT's

Please begin by reading the article, Electronic Field Trips: A Journey for Teaching and Learning as a brief introduction to opportunities and issues related to using VFT's in the classroom. Once you've read the article, please explore the following VFT sites as if you were a teacher considering using them in the classroom. Each member of the group should begin by visiting the Virtual Jamestown VFT. You should begin to annotate and analyze this VFT as a group using the following questions as a guide (note: you should complete one analysis of this site for the group):
  • What is the purpose of the field trip? What might students learn/experience?
  • How might this compare with physically visiting the place?
  • What might the teacher need to be aware of to use this effectively with her students?
  • What are your observations of the quality and content of the site?
Then divide up the following three additional VFT's among yourselves, exploring each one individually and adding to your analysis document.
Then each group member should search the Web to find one more VFT each to review and add to your document. You should now have one document with seven VFT's summarized using the questions above.

Phase 2: Categorizing existing VFT's

As a group, you should then find some way to categorize the VFT's you've reviewed. The categories may be developed around the purpose of the VFT's, student interaction with the site, the type of learning experience created or anything else you find useful. You should write up this conceptual model in some way that would make sense to someone outside your group (e.g. Dr. Hofer). Again, this could be accomplished in your wikispaces page, Google doc, Mindmeister map, or any other format you can share digitally.

Phase 3: Developing your own concept for a VFT

After exploring, critiquing and categorizing existing VFT's, I hope that you have determined characteristics that make for an effective VFT. Please use these ideas to develop the skeleton for EITHER creating your own VFT or working with your students to document a real field trip you've taken them on for others in the form of a VFT (e.g. Jamestown Elementary's Field Trip to Jamestown). This plan does not need to be completely fleshed out. Rather, try to convey some sense of how you might create your own VFT given what you've learned. Again, please be sure there is enough detail for outside your group to understand what you're trying to accomplish with your VFT.

Sharing Your Work

Please share your summary/analysis of the seven existing VFT's you explored (phase 1), your conceptual model of VFT's (phase 2), and the plan for developing your own VFT (phase 3) on your group's wiki page (Group 1 or Group 2). Please note: If you've used this wiki page to develop your work, please re-arrange the page so that the three components described above are at the top of the page. All your materials should be posted by the beginning of class on February 23, 2009. Please contact Dr.Hofer well prior with any questions or concerns.

Tech Expert Module

Due: Mar. 2, 2009

I understand that not everything we cover in class will pique your interest. In fact, I hope that you view the concepts, topics, and tools with a healthy dose of skepticism. You should constantly be asking yourself if a given tool or resource would add value to your teaching in the context of your content area and grade level and your particular pedagogical approach. With this in mind, I do not require that you produce some type of artifact for each of the major topics we will cover in the course. Rather, I ask you to select two of the focal areas to develop artifacts, one for the "Tech Expert Module" and one for a lesson plan that you might use in your student teaching.

The first artifact will be a Tech Expert Module. Sometimes as teachers we run across a particular technology tool or resource that really captures our interest. While this is not necessarily the ideal starting place, sometimes this may be a starting point for integrating technology into the teaching and learning process. We must not be too quick, however, to try to force a fit of the technology into our teaching. This project will challenge you to critically analyze the affordances and constraints of a particular technology tool or resource and consider its application in the classroom. Your "deliverable" will be a tech expert module that will be made publicly available through the Connexions Web site - both for your classmates and the larger ed tech community world-wide.

To develop your module you should proceed through the following sequence of steps:
  1. Identify a particular technology tool or resource that seems particularly promising for your teaching. To ensure that we don't have any duplicate modules for this class, please post your idea here prior to beginning any substantive work. If a classmate has already posted your idea, you may choose to work together, develop a slightly different approach to the topic, or choose another topic of focus.
  2. On the Connexions Web site, users have the option to either upload a properly formatted Word document or use the online editor. Past experience shows that it's much easier to use the template and upload a Word document. So, to begin, please download the Word document template to begin developing your module. Follow the instructions contained on the template document for headings and formatting. This will save significant time later.
  3. Once you've selected a tool or resource, take time to explore your topic in depth (to the point where you'd feel comfortable answering substantive questions on the topic from a colleague). In this exploration, you should EITHER create some type of help sheet (preferably including screen shots) that would help a new user to become familiar with the essential steps and functions of the tool/resource or create links to effective help sheets you've found online. This should be completed in the Word document template you downloaded in step 2. View this module as an example of appropriate depth/detail.
  4. Now that you've become an expert on the operational aspects of the tool/resource, you will now need to explore classroom-based examples of how teachers have implemented the tool or resource. Ideally, these examples will be from your grade level and content area, although this is not necessary. After you have explored many examples, select four of the best examples and create a brief description of each implementation with a link to the write-up of the lesson project you found online.
  5. After exploring the tool or resource in depth and examining classroom examples, please develop an annotated list of the affordances and constraints of the tool or resource. In other words, what value might it add to the classroom and what might teachers need to be wary of in incorporating the tool or resource into their teaching.
  6. Finally create a short list of tips that teachers might consider in implementing the tool or resource into their teaching. Try to keep this as concise as possible while still being useful for the teacher.
Please post a link to your module on the class Tech Expert Module page.

Reading/Response: Assistive Technology and Universal Design for Learning

Due: Mar. 23, 2009

You will have students in your classes with highly variable learning styles, preferences, and specific learning challenges. Some of these differences will be fairly common and others will be quite specific. In all these cases, technology can be used to help meet the needs of diverse learners in the classroom. To begin to explore some applications of technologies for diverse learners, please view the Edutopia video on assistive technologies and read chapter 4 of Reaching Every Student in the Digital Age from the Center for Applied Special Technology. As you watch and read, please fill out this organizer to help you identify the differences between the two approaches. Please bring a copy of the completed organizer to class.

Lesson Plan

The thoughtful integration of technology into teaching and learning is challenging. Effective technology integration supports learning curricular content and concepts in ways that connect well with the chosen pedagogical approach and provides a relative advantage over other ways to approach the lesson. The learning goals should be focused on the curriculum; not on the technology. This is a tall order, but this approach to using technology pays significant dividends and makes the extra time and effort "worth it."

The lesson design process will be composed of three parts: identifying the lesson focus, drafting three possibilities in the AT planning template, and the creation of the final lesson plan. Each phase of the work is described below.

  • Lesson focus possibilities - due midnight, Sunday, Mar. 22, 2009
    The first step in the process will require you to identify five (5) possible curriculum foci for the lesson. You may choose to identify possibilities in the same or multiple content areas. One way to begin this process is to peruse the Virginia SOL's for your grade level to see which content/process objectives are emphasized. I would suggest selecting possible focal areas based on a) your interest in the topic, b) possible connections to your methods courses, and c) possible technology connections. Please submit a Word document to Dr. Hofer outlining the five possibilities, referencing the appropriate VA SOLs (including grade level and content area) and the highlighted portion of the standard you'd like to focus on by midnight, Sunday, March 22nd. After discussing the possibilities in class on the 23rd, you will select three of the five possibilities to flesh out in the next step.
  • AT planning guide drafts - due Mar. 30, 2009
    As you reflect on the five possible focal areas above, you may see greater potential for effective technology integration in some more than others. At this stage, you will select three of the most promising lesson focal areas to further explore how technology could be used to support the teaching and learning process. To do this, you should complete an ActivityTypesPlanningGuide.doc document for each of your three ideas. For each "block" or portion of the lesson, please identify at least three different possible activity types to help students advance towards the learning goal. For each activity type possibility, please identify a range of digital and non-digital technology tools or resources that would support the learning activity type. This document should be submitted to Dr. Hofer prior to class via email. After discussing the three possibilities in class, you will select the most promising approach to draft your final lesson plan described below.
  • Final Lesson Plan - due Apr. 6, 2009
    The final lesson plan you develop will be comprised of three parts. First, you will write a lesson plan in the format required by your methods instructor informed by the AT planning template. If you choose to create a lesson for a content area in which you are not enrolled in a methods course, please use the general learning plan template for the SOE. Please note that in whatever format you write up the lesson plan, you will need to specify (in bold text) the learning activity types you include in the plan, the technologies/resources (both digital and non-digital) you will use in the plan (in bold text), and a "plan b" for what you might do if the digital technologies in the plan would fail. In addition to this lesson plan, you will create an accompanying technology product. If the teacher will use the technology, you should create what the teacher might present to the students. If the students will be using the technology, you should create a sample of what the students might do or create. The technology product should be complete and demonstrate mastery of the particular tool or resource you are employing. The final component of the lesson plan is a reflection in which you explore a) how you selected the particular learning activity types in the plan relative to your student learning goals, b) how you selected the particular digital and non-digital technologies for each learning activity type, and c) how you think the technology you selected adds value to the lesson (in terms of inspiring student learning and creativity and/or relative advantage). The activity types planning template document (for the focus you selected), the lesson plan document, technology sample, and reflection should be posted in the appropriate BlackBoard discussion forum where they may be accessed by the rest of the class. Click here for the assessment rubric.

Instructional Challenges

Due: Apr. 6, 2009

In an attempt to bridge the theory discussed in this course with the "real world" of your classrooms, you will engage in a design team project that will focus on leveraging technology to help solve educational challenges. To prepare for your design team project, you should schedule 30 minutes to talk with your Cooperating Teacher and any other teachers with whom you've connected about challenges they experience as teachers. While teachers face many challenges in their role as teacher, for the purposes of this project, I'd like you to focus on instructional challenges they encounter. These challenges may include challenging topics to teach, challenges with motivation for learning, collaborative work, etc. Try to gather as many ideas as you can from your colleagues. Before class pick 1-3 challenges that you might be interested in exploring for your design team project.

CT Feedback

Due: Apr. 13, 2009

Once you have identified a focus for your project, formed a team, and developed a draft of your design team project with your group, schedule 30 minutes with your Cooperating Teachers to discuss what you've come up with. Encourage them to help you explore the goals of the project, the steps and procedures of what you've created, the feasibility, and how it might address the challenge you've focused upon. Encourage your CT to be open and honest about the strengths and limitations of your approach. Please take notes of your CT's reactions and suggestions and post them to your group's wiki page.

Reading Response: Creating a Web Presence

Due: Apr. 13, 2009

Much news has broken recently about inappropriate/sketchy behavior by teachers on the Web. When Young Teachers Go Wild on the Web is an interesting piece underscoring this point. However, the Web also offers a great opportunity to connect with our students and their parents as well. A classroom Web site or portal can be a wonderful way to build community, share resources, make information available, and to help keep us organized. To prepare for the creation of your own classroom portal, I encourage you to explore some of the classroom Web sites linked here as well as the Tech Expert Module on Classroom Web sites. As you explore, jot down some notes on possible elements you might want to include in your portal. During the class session on November 18th we will try out several different technology tools to enable you to create your own portal.

Snapshot and Reflection Revisited

Due: April 27

At the beginning of this course, I challenged you to provide a "snapshot" of what effective technology integration might look like in your projected grade level as well as general reflections related to technology in teaching. As a culminating experience, I would like you to revisit your initial response to this assignment, suggesting how your thinking about technology integration has changed over the course of the semester.

To complete this assignment, please open your original Word document and carefully read through the snapshot and reflection portions of the assignment. Consider how your ideas regarding the snapshot have changed as well as your view of the reflection questions. You may choose to formulate entirely new responses to either/both sections, or you may choose to edit your original statements using "Track Changes" in Word. In either approach, please be sure to address the following two prompts.

Given your projected grade level placement and corresponding curriculum content, what would be an example of an effective lesson that incorporates educational technology? Describe the lesson in narrative form, including how the technology would be used.

Reflection Questions:
After you’ve described the lesson, please answer the following questions:
  • In general, when is it appropriate to use digital technologies in your teaching? Why so?
  • In general, when is it not appropriate to use digital technologies in your teaching? Why so?

Please email your response as an attachment to Dr. Hofer by April 27th.

Technology Products

Due - May 7, 2009 by 6pm

Brief description:
After exploring several different possibilities to support teaching and learning with technology this semester, hopefully a few have resonated with how you plan to teach. In the tech expert module assignment you were challenged to see how other teachers have used particular technologies and develop a sort of synthesis on how the particular tool or resource might best be leveraged in the classroom. In this assignment, you will be challenged to select two different technology tools and use your developing vision for teaching to create two products that you might use in your classroom. You may use a particular tool instructionally or to help with classroom efficiency or communication. You'll have wide latitude to select tools and how you'd use them in the classroom. Whatever you choose, you'll develop two components:
  • A rationale for and discussion of the classroom application of each product that you create (3 points each)
  • the actual product that you create that demonstrates a sophisticated and well-developed application of the tool (7 points each)
To turn in your work, please create a separate posting for each product on Tech Products page on this wiki. On this page, please provide a title for your project along with your rationale/discussion. You should then create a link to the product you created. A sample posting is included on the page. Your postings must be finished and complete by 6pm on May 7th, 2009.