Instructional Technology Enhances Learning
Mission and Vision Statement
Being a teacher I believe that when it comes to the use of technology for the benefit of children in a classroom, we should use it not only to teach the students the basic computer skills (Massachusetts Software Council Inc., 1998) or the usual drill-and-practice exercises that have been used since the 1980s but to also help them in understanding the actual value that education can have in one’s life and how it could change a society as a whole.
Therefore the use of technology especially in a school or classroom should be encourages in a manner that would better the quality of teaching by implementing new and effective teaching strategies and help in eliminating the things that reduce the chances of quality education being delivered to the students (Dexter, 2002).
Following is the vision that I have regarding the technology plan for this classroom:
It should be understood by the administration of school that technology is not used as something extra or apart from the regular course of the class rather it should be integrated in the education system in such a manner that it would help in achieving the goals of the course. It needs to be understood by the staff that technology is not just a beneficial add-on in the education system rather that in order to keep up with the changing world technology needs to be adopted to maintain and improve the quality of education being delivered to the students (Dexter, 2002).
It needs to be understood by people that in order to ensure that the positive things being taught to the students will be used by them once they enter the practical world and technology can go a long way in making this possible (Dexter, 2002).
Therefore, technology needs to be infused, integrated and recognized as a very important part of the course plan of a class (Dexter, 2002).
The things that I will be focusing on with regards to this technology plan are what kinds of technology will I be implementing to achieve the curriculum goals? How I am going to implement this technology? How will I need to develop and adjust my own teaching skills in order to not only integrate the technology in class but to also take maximum benefit from it (Dexter, 2002)?
Section Two: Communications Plan
With the help of the technology plan it will become a lot easier for the parents of the students in my class to keep an eye on the progress of their child in the school (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
How this plan will work is the way that since in today’s world a lot of parents use internet and therefore have email ids, so regular information will be sent to the parents through emails about their children. The parents will also have the option to limit the amount of information being received through the emails (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
The parents who don’t have an email id will be contacted through the phone whenever they need to be contacted about the performance of their child (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
The School Managers that are made use of at the district level will be used in the technology plan for my class as well. These managers will enable me to contact all or a particular number of parents with the help of an auto-dialling phone message system. The messages can be recorded on the machine with information or queries about the students and later on sent to all the parents that it concerns (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
There are online grading systems that are being used by the many secondary as well as elementary schools and the one that has been standardized by the district is Easy Grade Pro-however, there are a very few teachers who are making use of this system. I will be using this system in my technology plan for the class to grade the performance of my students (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
The importance of motivating children regarding the work done by them and the achievements made by them is often ignored by the parents as well as the teachers. I will be making use of the Web in order to publish the achievements of my students online. This will not only help me in motivating the students to do better but will also give the world an opportunity to see how the students in my class and school are doing (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
I will be making use of the tools that are now being given in a lot of schools to enable the students and the parents to communicate with the teachers online. This will not only enable the parents to keep a close look at the performance of the kids in the class but will also allow the students to communicate with me in case they have some confusions or queries about their homework or coursework (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
E-Rate is being used by the school which acts as a source to fund the eligible services. Therefore, I too will be making use of E-Rate in my technology plan for the class as this will help me with the telephone service, internet and the cellular service.
It is the strategic goal of XYZ School to enhance the communication between the stakeholders. The Technology Audit being used by the school requires that the parents access the internet in order to get to know about the performance of their children in a timely manner. There are also many researches that have been conducted on the communication among the parents and the teachers which suggests that the timely communication among the parents and teachers improves the quality of education being given to the students and this also helps the parents and teachers in finding out how well the technology is being used by the students and to what extent are they benefiting from it and what else could be done to enhance the level of education (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
It is our plan to increase the use of XYZ Online Student Information System (OSIS) by the parents. The school also plans on shifting from SASIxp student information system to Aeries as, Aeries not only allows you to grade the performance of the students online but it will also enable the parents to view the performance of their kids online (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
Therefore, I will be integrating Aeries in the technology plan for my class the moment that the school starts using it. A baseline will be established by us regarding the number of parents using Aeries in 2010-2011 and it is after this that we will be monitoring and reporting the annual usage (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
I will be making use of a web-based interface for the interim as well as course grade for my class. At the moment this will be done by using OASIS however, the moment that Aeries is implemented in the school I will shift from Easy Grade Pro-grading system to Aeries grading. The parent use baseline data will be established (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
For the purpose of collecting the data regarding attendance, discipline and demographics a web-based interface will be established by me (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
I will also make efforts to encourage the administration of the school to provide the other staff members with the training on the usage of web-based interfaces as this will help me communicate the performance of my students in other courses to their parents (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
I will also be encouraging the administration of the school to form a Website Standards team that will help in keeping the staff up-to-date about the schools web site (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
When it comes to the safety of the students regarding the content that is posted about them on the internet a web content filter is used by the district. This software scans the information before it gets posted on the internet and sees the chances of any student getting bullied due to the information. This web content filter will be used by me in the technology plan as well as, I want the student to feel comfortable and motivated when it comes to the use of technology and not grow a negative attitude towards it (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
Section Three: Integrating Instructional Technology
In this section I will basically be evaluating the hardware and the software being used by the teachers in our school with regards to the technology and the kind of impact that had on the quality of education being provided to the students.
My basic focus in making this plan is to strengthen the collaboration between home and school, improve the quality of teaching which would ultimately improve the quality if learning. It is my basic focus to implement all the basic sorts of technology in my course plan that would help me in achieving the targets that I have set regarding my class (Cradler, 2013).
The four pillars that must be included in a technology plan are: Infrastructure, software, hardware and the professional development (Cradler, 2013).
There are two basic categories that the software instruction and curriculum can be divided into:
Teaching and Learning Software Tools: the use of technology to improve the quality of education for the students as well as the teachers. Subscription-based electronic learning resources have enabled the teachers as well as the students to access more reliable and vast sources of information like they were never before able to do (Cradler, 2013).
Productivity Software Tools: the basic technology tools that have increased the usage of technology to the extent that it has changed the landscape of how work was done in the past and how it is being done today. Student information systems and the electronic gradin systems are an example of such tools (Cradler, 2013).
The most important thing when it comes to the use of technology even the most basic technology is to be able to understand hoe computer works in general. Therefore, only an individual who is literate with regards to the technology can make use of the productivity tools in an effective manner (Cradler, 2013).
Given below are some of the applications that are used in the productivity software:
word processing, e.g. Word, StarOffice
Graphics, e.g. Fireworks, PhotoShop, Gimp
e-mail, e.g. Novell GroupWise
Presentation, e.g. PowerPoint, StarOffice, SMART Notebook
Semantic mapping, e.g. Inspiration spreadsheet and graphing, e.g. Excel, StarOffice
Internet, e.g. browsers such as Internet Explorer, Safari, Firefox and the expertise of “search” tools and evaluation methods
Database, e.g. Access, MySQL
Streaming, e.g. Podcasting
Electronic grading, e.g. Easy Grade Pro
Collaboration tools, e.g. Adobe Acrobat, Webinars, Adobe Connect, Ning
Web authoring, e.g. DreamWeaver, NVu, Contribute, PHP, CSS Desktop publishing, e.g. Publisher, InDesign (Cradler, 2013).
When the technology is used in order to learn and gain knowledge it is usually done is a manner that is in accordance with the different core curriculum practices and standards. Following are the learning tools that will be made use of by me in to facilitate the achievement of class goals:
Renaissance Learning: Accelerated Reader, Accelerated Math, STAR Reading, STAR Math Study Island: improvement software that works on the concept of subscription-based learning and is used at many schools GALE and other library databases: subscription-based reference tools
SMART Notebook software and supplemental “Gallery”
Distance learning and credit recovery: PLATO Online and Cyber High Learning Environment
Inspiration concept mapping
The availability of extensive reference and instructional resources through ed1stop
Rosetta Stone language learning software: used mainly for the learners of English but used in World Languages as well (Cradler, 2013).
ISTE Foundation of Technology Literacy
A lot of efforts have been made by the International Society for Technology Education (ISTE) to ensure that technology is made a part of our education system. ISTE is a national organization. The National Education Standards for Students/Teachers/Administrators have been created and altered by ISTE for a long time in order to ensure that technology plays a positive role in our education system (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002). http://www.iste.org/AM/Template.cfm?Section=NETS
The curricular framework is provided by the “Technology Foundation Standards for All Students” regarding the level of expectation for the students from kindergarten to grade 12 (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
Mentioned below are the six areas according to which the required skills are formed (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002):
Technology research tools
Basic operations and concepts
Technology communication tools
Social ethical and human issues
Technology problem-solving and decision-making tools.
Technology productivity tools
These six areas are in various stages of implementation in various schools in the district. However, right now there exists a strong need for the administration of our school to realize the fact that in order to take full advantage of the technologies available to us we need to transform our learning practices in a way that they become more research -based and investigative as, doing this would increase the quality of education being provided to the students (International Society for Technology in Education, 2002).
Section Four: Software to Support Assessment
It was in 2006 that a lot District Initiatives were launched. Some of these initiatives are data-driven decision-making; student centred learning; Learning Communities (PLC) and research-based interventions. The work that was done by Richard DuFour helped in the modelling of the PLC process. The basic idea behind the development of this process was to increase the learning experiences of the students as well as the way that the knowledge is being communicated to the students by the teacher. Therefore, I will be integrating this process in my technology plan as; it is already in accordance with my goals of sharing the data regarding the students which is a very important part of this process (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
The current SASIxp system being used by the school will be replaced by Aeries, which will take effect on July 1, 2010. There are a lot of schools that are now using the electronic grading systems, in my opinion using Aeries will be very beneficial for my class as through it I will not only be able to do the grading online but the parents will be able to view the performance of their students on a regular basis too (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
Results Now is another feature of Aeries which will highlight not only the STAR students but the ones that lacked behind as well. The program can work on group of students or individual students as well. Therefore, with the help of this feature of Aeries I will be able to understand in a better manner which students need my help the most and what are the areas that I need to focus more upon (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
Easy Grade Pro-is the grading system that is currently being used by our school and it helps the teachers in not only grading the students online but they can also post the grade online which helps the students in finding out about their performance in a timely manner. This grading system will be replaced by Aeries’ grading system ones it gets implemented in the school (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
Another technology that I will be taking help of in order to access the performance of students is Exam View. This is software that would allow me to create tests and quizzes according to the difficulty level that is appropriate for my class and the courses that will be taught to them. The test can be conducted on papers or electronically. However, electronic tests would need for me to arrange enough computers for the students present in the class which can be a tough thing to do (Massachusetts Department of Education, 2007).
It is the strategic goal of XYZ to enhance the communication between the stakeholders. The Technology Audit being used by the school requires that the parents access the internet in order to get to know about the performance of their children in a timely manner. There are also many researches that have been conducted on the communication among the parents and the teachers which suggests that the timely communication among the parents and teachers improves the quality of education being given to the students and this also helps the parents and teachers in finding out how well the technology is being used by the students and to what extent are they benefiting from it and what else could be done to enhance the level of education (NCES, 2002; NEIRTEC, 2002).
Section Five: Technology Ethics in the Classroom
The teachers in XYZ school are very strict about the policies when it comes to plagiarism and the parents as well as students are given guidelines regarding the actions that will be taken against them in case that they commit plagiarism (McKenzie, 1998). The students are told about the disadvantages of using someone else’s work without giving them credit for it. However, there needs to be some software that would be able to observe the plagiarism being committed by the students and this software should be used from the smaller grade so that the children would learn it from the beginning to not commit plagiarism (McNabb et al., 1999).
I will be making use of such software to catch the plagiarism and I will explain the consequences of getting caught with plagiarism to the students beforehand so that they would understand what is at stake.
Section 6: A Reflective Essay
With the rapid growth in technology it has become very important for the schools to not only remain up-to-date but also ensure that the technology that they are implementing is accessible by the students and teachers whenever they need to use it (Valdez, 2013).
In today’s world the role played by the students in education industry has changed as they have now become prosumers meaning they are the consumers as well as the producers. Since, the students today are a lot more technology savvy then the teachers as they it is the younger generation that stays more up-to-date with the technology. Therefore, the teachers can take the help of the students in getting to know about the technology in a better manner (Valdez, 2013).
Encouragement can be given to the students to enable them to become more self-confident and involved with the teachers. Discussions and various other forms of exercises could he arranged in the classes to motivate the students to stay in touch with technology and use it for educational purposes along with entertainment. All this will help the students in learning to incorporate technology in their educational lives and this will help the teachers in a manner that they will be able to stay up-to-date about technology with the help if their students (Vedra, 2003).
Comprehensive Classroom Technology Plan
The technology that I will be integrating into my teaching plan will be done in such a manner that it would act in the enhancement of the quality of education being given by me and the knowledge being learned by the student rather than feeling like an add-on. This is only possible if appropriate technological tools are made use of and that too in a manner that they sync in with the curriculum.
Another important factor that I will be focusing upon is regular communication with the parent. This will right now be done with the help of emails and phone. However, once the school starts using Aeries the process will get a lot easier as the parents will then have access to the grades being assigned by me to the students on their day-to-day class performance. With the help of this electronic grading system the students too will be able to view their performance in class and find out their weak areas that they need to work upon.
There are a number of technological tools that I will be making use of such as the productivity software tools as well as the teaching and learning software tools. However, in order to use these tools I, myself will have to be able to stay up-to-date with the technology.
I will also be making use of the software to detect plagiarism and letting the students know what will happen to their grades in case plagiarism is detected in their work. This will help in building the sense of ethics in the students and they will also become used to making efforts to do their work rather than copy and pasting it from internet.
Incorporating latest technology into my teaching plan would help me as a teacher in accessing the performance of student as well as the quality of education being delivered by me as a teacher. This will also help the parents in keeping a proper check on the students and their day-to-day class activities. Therefore, in this teacher, student and the parents will know the weak areas that need to be worked upon.
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