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What Comes First: the Curriculum or the Technology?

What Comes First: the Curriculum or the Technology?
It’s hard to imagine now, but there was a time when handing a student a calculator to work through algebraic equations caused many teachers and parents great consternation. It makes you wonder what type of pushback the creators of the abacus faced! In both cases, while the tools students were using may have been more advanced than previous generations’, the goal remained the same – to enhance classroom learning. But before moving forward with technology integration, every school must first have a great, robust and adaptable academic curriculum. Only then can you begin to find ways in which technology can help to elevate it. It’s important to never force fit technology – if it’s not supplementing what’s already happening in the classroom or a teacher’s goals for the school year, the addition will become more of a barrier to learning than a catalyst. Photo via Flickr Creative Commons by Brad Flickinger A Few Questions to Consider Think Curriculum Enhancements, Not Technology Implementations

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iPad students learn the most important skill There’s something in the air and like the best of things, it’s exciting and scary at the same time. More and more articles like this one and this one and even this one proclaim the death of so many jobs over the next 20 years and magazines like this one explain why people not learning to adapt will be disastrous for everyone, especially current school kids. The major problem for school children is that traditionally, the classroom doesn’t demand they practice adapting to a situation or problem solve open-ended enough scenarios. It’s always been mostly a matter of fitting in and following the guidelines laid out by the teacher. It’s heartening to read stories like this one that show things are changing but these examples still exist as a minority in education.

Confessions of a Teacher Who Doesn't Believe In Education  I was one of those people that always knew what I wanted to be when I "grew up". I wanted to teach. Asking children, and teenagers what they want to be when they grow up , or what they want to major in when they graduate high school, is a pretty common question. Many people never know the answer, those of us that do, and are luckily enough to have a response that falls onto the list of " acceptable, and safe jobs," seem to have it lucky. As a child I played school with my neighbors, I was always the teacher, and if they weren't around, I taught pretend students, and helped my mom, an elementary teacher, grade papers.

Literacy Instruction with Digital and Media Technologies As new literacies that include digital and media technologies evolve, preparing students to understand and adjust to these literacy demands is critical to current and future expectations for pleasure and work (International Reading Association, 2001; Leu, Mallette, Karchmer, & Kara-Soteriou, 2005). For instance, teachers may identify with past models of literacy that are paper and pencil bound; however, new conceptions involve continually changing views of reading and writing, particularly with the advent of the Internet (Leu et al., 2004; Warschauer, 2006). These new literacies include innovative text formats (multiple media or hybrid texts; Lemke, 1998), new reader expectations (reading nonlinearly; Warschauer, 2006), and new activities (website publication; Leu et al., 2004). The Internet has caused educators to confront issues related to new technologies, as previous technological innovations have never been adopted so rapidly and in so many places simultaneously. Back to Top

10 Good Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms Add-ons for Teachers This afternoon I was asked if I could put together a list of my favorite Google Docs, Sheets, and Forms Add-ons. In the past I had put together lists of Sheets scripts, but most of those lists are outdated as Add-ons have mostly replaced scripts. Here's my updated list of my favorite Google Docs, Sheets and Forms Add-ons. Google Docs Add-ons: The Tag Cloud Generator Add-on will create a word cloud in the right-hand margin of any of your Google Documents that contain more than one hundred words. One of the most useful Add-ons for Google Documents is the EasyBib Bibliography Creator.

Teaching Students to Reflect in Steps Self-assessment and reflection is key to the forward movement of a student’s learning and potential achievement. The more able a student is to talk about his/her learning in a cognizant way, the better chance he/she has in achieving his/her goals. This is why it is imperative for us to teach students how to do this effectively. We can’t merely assume that by saying to a student, “go reflect on this last assignment,” that he/she will know what we mean.

Defining "Best Practice" in Teaching It's often said in the teaching world (as in many professions and trades, I imagine), "Why reinvent the wheel when there are plenty of practices that already work?" In their book, Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School, Andy Hargreaves and Michael Fullan share their definition for "best practices," which they define as existing practices that already possess a high level of widely-agreed effectiveness. We teachers are standing on the shoulders of giants before us who have developed tried-and-true strategies by testing them out, reflecting on the outcomes, and honing those strategies over decades or longer.

SAMR and Teacher Confidence: A confluence of models As someone who works to assist educators with the integration of technology into instruction, I work with a wide variety of experience levels and skill sets. At times it is a challenge to meet all their needs. Nevertheless, just as in any K-12 classroom, you accept people where you find them and seek to help them move forward. But how can we best do that? Research has given us a couple of models that can serve as a lens to examine this and assist us in formulating strategies.

The Real Benefit of Using Google Sheets Add-ons Like Flubaroo and Goobric On Friday evening I posted a list of my ten favorite Google Sheets, Docs, and Forms Add-ons. A point that I should have made at the start of that post is that the biggest benefit of many Add-ons is that they save teachers time. For the most part Add-ons won't change the way you teach, but they can streamline some processes for you. 10 Online Tools to Engage Students in Studying Process - Fedena Blog When a teacher manages to engage his students in the learning process through interactive techniques, they are able to increase their focus and improve their critical thinking skills. Active participation is important for students to gain meaningful learning experiences in the classroom. How do you motivate your students to get engaged, when most of them don’t give you a chance to show how fun learning can be?

Learning Leading Change: EduTECH Day One: Open Schools for globally connected learning David Price is the author of the fabulous book Open and Larry Rosenstock is the director of High a Tech High. Autonomy is the new mantra. Price spoke about the fact that the need for change is escalating, referring to examples such as global warning as an issue showing the need to address wider world issue before it's too late. 2020 50% of all jobs will be freelance. 2030 47% of all jobs will be automated. How are we preparing our students of today for this very real and close future? Instructional Coaching: Driving Meaningful Tech Integration Overview Integrating Technology Instructional Coaching Hampton High School has integrated technology across its entire program with a full-time instructional coach who supports the teachers in this work. The presence of a coach sharpens the school's focus on how technology can best make the learning more engaging and relevant for students, and gives teachers support in navigating the vast field of technology applications and devices.

e-Learning Accessibility & Usability by Aina Irbe, Training Manager After 18 years in the field of e-Learning and as a doctoral learner in instructional design and online learning, I am intrigued by the intersection of usability and accessibility in the many delivery options offered by the online learning environment. Many terms define and describe the online delivery environments, and as these options expand the audiences and learners also grow more diverse. The downside to the exponential growth of e-Learning is that the more e-Learning expands around the world, the more disparate the usability and accessibility becomes, leading to more incongruent learner experiences. I mean, how many of us have been to websites that just don’t work well?

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