By: J'aime Holderbaum
K-5 Technology Teacher
Master of Educational Technology
Click here to return to my homepage.
Although technology has always been a huge
interest of mine, about three years ago I discovered that somewhere along the
way I had let it slip away from me and my instructional techniques. Upon becoming an elementary teacher, I had
promised myself that I would always be a lifelong learner and keep current in
new instructional methods. After
teaching for about ten years, I had obtained my Master’s Degree in Education,
and I thought I was keeping on top of things educationally. However, one Sunday afternoon as I picked up
the local Swartz Creek Sunday News, and read an article about how a teacher had
published a podcast with her class, I thought to myself, “I do not even know
what a podcast is.” I started wondering
how this type of project was related to student learning and educational
experiences. Around that same time I
overheard some other teachers discussing a webquest. Again I thought, “What in the world is a
webquest.” At this moment I decided that
it was time to figure out what these new technologies were and start
integrating them into my teaching.
My thirst for learning led me to decide I
would take a few classes to learn some basic methods for integrating technology
into my classroom. At the beginning of
my journey into learning about educational technology I saw that many teachers
and administrators valued the integration of Microsoft Word, Excel, and
PowerPoint into the educational curriculum, however it seemed to stop there. Some of my thoughts prior to beginning the
Master of Educational Technology program included, how could I create a webpage
for my classroom, how does one create a podcast, what is a webquest, how could blogs be
integrated, and what other technologies could be used for instructional
purposes. At this time I didn’t even
know about the vast array of Web 2.0 technologies and the endless
possibilities. After completing the
first three courses in the program, I developed a passion for educational
technology and came to the conclusion that I would obtain my Master’s in
Educational Technology and change the way I teach forever. Over the past three years I have developed
and grown as an educator in many exciting ways.
My learning experiences have taken me
beyond the basics of technology and taught me how to be a self directed learner
as I have explored and applied technology in the educational setting. Not only can technology be used for
motivating student learning, but it can be repurposed to provide students with
meaningful educational experiences that will prepare them for the future. Through understanding aesthetic qualities of
technology, students can become creative and innovative in their cognitive
abilities. Communicating through a
functional website enables teachers to provide information to parents, provide
links to students, and publish student work samples. The numerous free web based applications that
are available enable educators to provide experiences for students that allow
them to create unique presentations and create collaborative projects. These same applications provide educators
with essential tools in delivering engaging interactive lessons through digital
of my experiences have led me
to develop a belief that it is essential to incorporate technology int
o the curriculum in order to enable students to be prepared for
real world experiences.
One of the most important aspects of
utilizing technology in the classroom is the huge motivational factor connected
with it. Students connect with digital
media and thrive on publishing material for real audiences. They learn through collaborative methods that
are made easily available through technology.
I have learned that I need to guide students to understand their
learning so that they will be able to share their knowledge and understandings
in creative ways. When students learn
material, if they can make a connection to their lives or understand how they
will apply their knowledge in a real world setting, then their learning
experience will stick with them.
As I have implemented numerous lessons that
integrate technology and have allowed students to publish work online, I have
come to see that that having an authentic audience motivates students to become
more involved in their work and produce high quality products. Their peers as well as parents will have the
opportunity to view their work, when it is published online. Knowing that they have an authentic audience
motivates students to display their best work.
Alan November (2001) states, “The Web represents an audience
extraordinaire. It is virtually
limitless and allows for connection…Teachers who have never had a chance to
challenge their students to present their work for authentic review now have
almost unlimited capacity. The impact on
student motivation can be awesome.
Knowing when to tap into this potential is the goal of creative
teachers” (p. 34).
Create! Share! These three words will stick in my mind
forever as a result of my summer experience in the Master of Educational
Technology program at Michigan State.
Thinking about exploring, creating, and sharing in the context of
education has helped me to make connections between these words, educational
practices, and student learning. It is
important for educators to explore and understand various educational theories
in order to apply those theories in the classroom and give students purpose in learning meaningful material.
Technology has always been a huge interest
of mine and I have found that incorporating lessons that integrate technology
into the curriculum always motivates students to learn and engages students in
the learning process. “If educators are
to repurpose tools and integrate them into their teaching, they require a
specific kind of knowledge that we call technological pedagogical and content
knowledge (TPACK) (Mirsha 2009).”
Knowing that students are highly engaged by the use of technology in the
classroom, as a teacher I need to creatively repurpose technology because,
“most technologies that teachers use typically have not been designed for
educational purposes (2009).” For
example the use of blogs in the classroom can be used to help develop writing
skills as well as encourage class participation. A student that is shy and never speaks up
during a class, may demonstrate a large amount of participation through the use
of a blog. Even in the elementary
classroom blogs could play a role in developing writing skills. Some ideas for using a blog are using it as
an online journal or possibly a portfolio, showcasing student poems and various
important reason for integrating technology into the curriculum is
because of the globalization of our world and the creation of more
right brained individuals. In “Emotional
Intelligence: What is it and Why it
Matters,” Young Zhoa illustrates that a “person’s ability to perceive, identify, and
manage emotion provides the basis for the kinds of social and emotional
competencies that are important for success in almost any job. Furthermore, as the pace of change increases
and the world of work makes ever greater demands on a person’s cognitive,
emotional, and physical resources, this particular set of abilities will become
A common theme that has run throughout my learning is that
because our world is changing, that we need to prepare our students to develop
varied intelligences that will help them to succeed in our global world. We need to inspire creativity as well as
develop emotional intelligence.
Qualities of Technology and Education
“The aesthetic becomes a casualty in
American education.” This line from
“Learning and Teaching the Ways of Knowing,” illustrates that American
education lacks the appreciation for aesthetic learning. It is questioned, “How do we help students
experience the aesthetic aspects of language?” Especially in a society in which
it is required that each teacher covers numerous Grade Level Content Standards,
do we neglect the arts and integration of aesthetic appreciation. The arts seem to be considered luxuries.
If educators begin to
integrate technology into lessons that evoke emotion and feeling, then students will be able to
make connections and “see how each piece is a part of a larger whole.” Bringing attention to the aesthetics in
school curriculum also allows students to develop sensibilities about our
world. It is necessary for schools to
provide students with experiences that move students to feel compelled about
what they study. Passing state mandated
tests does not always demonstrate a student’s understanding of a subject as
well as an emotional connection to a feeling that was created through a
In what ways can schools effectively
provide experiences that evoke emotions, feelings, and cause the students to
connect with the subject matter on a different level? I do believe that if a teacher is truly
interested and compelled by the subject matter that they teach, then they will
be able to create more lessons with aesthetic connections.
In the article “Learning and Teaching the
Ways of Knowing,” it states, “Are students aware of the aesthetic aspects of
mathematic, and if not, what can we do about it?” There are a number of thoughts that come to
my mind about how to integrate the arts, math, and technology at the elementary
level. Photography could be used to
teach students about various mathematical concepts such as shapes, lines,
symmetry, congruence, and patterns.
Students could either take photos of these concepts or analyze photos
taken by others. Students could create
films to explain their understanding about various methods in which one math
problem was solved. Many
are encouraged to draw a picture to solve a problem, but what if they
step further and created something from their drawing such as a podcast
video? When students create something that is aesthetically
pleasing that demonstrates their learning, they will have the
chance to feel the compelling experience that evokes feeling and
emotion in their learning.
Development and Online Experiences
I think that most important element of my
learning experience in the Master of Educational Technology program was learning about website development for educational
purposes. At the beginning of my journey, one of the main components of
technology that I was interested in was creating a classroom webpage. Throughout the Master’s of Educational Technology
program, I have obtained skills and knowledge about how to publish websites in
a number of ways. My main classroom
website has been created through the use of free publishing software, NVU and
Filezilla. I have purchased the domain
educationextras.com for professional use.
I use my website to provide information to
parents including my teaching philosophy, important classroom events, lesson
plans, the educational technology standards, student products, teacher
resources, tutorials, and student links. I have found that the most accessed part of my
website is the Student Links page. For
students at the elementary level it is easy for them to click on links from
this site rather than type in a whole website address. I have placed video tutorials on this page
that students can access to view directions for specific assignments. I also use the Student Links page to place
documents such as Word or Excel files that I need to share with them. In a sense I use my webpage to bring online
learning experiences to my students.
There are also a number of free online
website publishers that allow one to create professional websites easily. I have used Weebly and Google Sites to create
websites as well. One benefit to using
an online publisher is that a website can be easily updated from any location. Because I have had so many teachers approach
me wanting to learn how to create their own websites. I have created a number of online tutorials
for teachers in my district to use to create classroom websites.
Creating a website has allowed me to easily
share information with parents, students, and the community. Students love having their projects displayed
on my website. One of my favorite parts
of the MAET program was the design element that went hand in hand with website
2.0 in Education
The possibilities of integrating Web
2.0 technologies into the educational
curriculum is ever changing and endless as new and emerging technologies are
introduced daily. Many technologies
provide a platform for collaboration.
Collaborative projects can now take place through the use of wikis,
Google Docs, Google Presentations, and Google Sites. There is also the possibility to deliver
instruction through social networking sites such as Facebook and Ning. Teachers and students have the ability to use
a variety of multi media to present information. Numerous sites enable us to upload video such
as YouTube, SchoolTube, and TeacherTube.
We can upload slideshows to SlideShare.
ability to share and bookmark important websites is now simple through
the use of social bookmarking sites such as Delicious or
ikeepbookmarks. Some other Web 2.0 applications I have expllored
include Scratch, Prezi, Wordle, Voki, Jing, Voicethread, Ning, ManyEyes, Google Earth, Scratch and Pixton,
just to name a few.
The use of collaborative Web 2.0 tools make
it possible for teachers to create a rich physical and social learning
environment. “To support children’s learning in science, teachers must be
willing to try to understand the ideas and formulations children have made and
are making and to guide their instruction accordingly. This means the teacher accepts and supports a
wide variety of views and encourages real dialogue and debate among the
children. This also means creating a
rich physical and social leaning environment in which new questions, explorations,
and investigations can arise, and in which every step is not dictated
I have explored learning and teaching with
cognitive tools on the web. In one of my courses, my group explored
Scratch, which is a programming language that allows students to create
animations, stories, or games. This
activity required us to be very self-directed in our learning, because we had
to research the software and teach ourselves how to use the programming
language in Scratch. Because of the
method in which we learned about the program, I feel that I have a deeper
understanding of Scratch. In my
classroom I want to create lessons that will encourage students to be
self-directed in their learning as well.
This type of learning leads to a deeper understanding of material. “Outside of school, learning almost always
takes place within the context of purposeful activity: people learn because they need to know how to
do something important, and they can see examples of what it looks like to
accomplish those tasks (Levstik and Barton 1997).” I believe that purposeful learning causes one
to become self-directed in their learning.
Therefore I believe that it is important to make learning purposeful in
the classroom in order to instill this value in students.
Educational Technology Philosophy
have led me to develop my educational technology philosophy. I believe that incorporating technology into
the classroom is critical. Today’s students need to become productive
members of our society and in order to function, live productively, and learn
effectively. In our digital world it is of utmost importance that
students learn about gathering and presenting information with the use of
technology. As students communicate and collaborate with various
technologies, they will develop interpersonal skills as well as become educated
individuals. The use of technology in the classroom is a huge motivational
tool as well. If students know that their work will be published on the
internet for a real audience, it encourages them to display higher quality
that will prepare them for the real world as well as develop creative critical thinkers. When
they look back on their learning I want them to remember the compelling experiences that
took place and use their knowledge to move forward.
Click here to read "Teacher, Technology, Tomorrow."
This article demonstrates my thoughts regarding my future
as an educator and life long learner.
Barton K. and Levstik L. (1997). "Doing History: Investigating With Children in Elementary and Middle Schools." (9-13).
Eisner, Elliiot. (1985). "Learning and Teaching the Ways of
Knowing."(23-35). The University of Chicago Press.
Mishra, P., & Koehler, M. J. (2009, May). "Too Cool
for School? No Way! Learning & Leading with Technology", (36)7. 14-18.
November, Alan (2004). "Empowering Students With
Technology. California:" Corwin Press
Worth, K. "The Power of Children’s Thinking."
Zhao, Young. “Emotional Intelligence: What is it and Why it Matters.”