Section One: Vision Statement
As an educator I will encourage the students to do their best in the classroom leading to academic growth. Utilizing new technology to enhance what is taught from the textbook will help the children reach academic plateaus and beyond. Research has shown that technology is being used for communication in the educational environment. This advancement has allowed for new possibilities in regards to collaboration and sharing of information and knowledge that will be expected to expand over time. New forms of technology “have the power to improve parent-teacher relationship by providing easy, efficient, and effective methods of communicating information regarding students” (Zieger and Tan 30-54). Section Two: Mission Statement
I will provide all of my students a safe and nurturing environment to allow them to thrive and grow both academically and personally. Every student will be given the upmost respect which will teach them to reciprocate these behaviors amongst themselves. Through the creation of an environment conducive for learning the students can utilize the many resources available so they may achieve their academic goals. These resources include numerous educational websites, in addition to other technological resources, that will help students surpass academic standards. A class web site is an informative tool that provides access to what is being taught in the classroom and can be presented through pictures and videos. This means of communication helps to reinforce, to the student, lessons they have been recently taught. The class web site is a solid link, when utilized by parents, between home and school. The site often includes the parent handbook, homework assignments and class activities. This advancement in technology allows the parents an opportunity to stay connected with the school community (Vitalaki, Anastasiadesm and Tsouvelas 125-135, 2014).
Class web sites reach out to the local and global communities as well. The school accountability committee encourages and provides opportunities for citizens “to be involved in the planning and evaluation of the school’s instructional program and quality improvement process” (Vitalaki et al). Planning for unexpected emergencies is something every school must consider and have protocol in place for contacting parents. An important element of the protocol is the emergency contact list. This information is necessary to implement student release procedures and should be updated every school year. This will ensure timely communication between the school and parents/guardians if the student should get sick or injured during school hours. As an educator, I have Found EPALS to be an educational tool to connect my students to the global community. This resource allows teachers and their students to participate in collaborative projects. Through this opportunity the children are connecting with students around the world while taking part in educational activities, discussions, and games. One of the projects through EPAL is sharing cultures- a collaborative project between China and the United States. This project gives American school children the opportunity to learn about China while sharing their experiences with students from another country (Vitalaki et al).
The cyber world can be a very scary place, but one that isn’t going away. For this reason, shielding children from negative portions of the internet has been a growing concern over the past few years for both the parents and the educators. Teachers today have the responsibility to inform their students on how the internet can be used as a resource for finding information in a safe manner. “Misleading and inappropriate information on the web is one of the major problems that children tend to have while navigating the internet” (Marcoux 67-68). Internet safety is an issue I will discuss early in the year with my students. During the discussion I will teach them that some people that are online have bad intentions. These people could be bullies or predators. Cyber bullying is a serious problem that takes on many forms such as sending mean messages or threats to a cell phone and spreading rumors online. “Cyber bullying can be damaging to adolescents and teens.
It can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide.” Young people who have been a victim of cyber bullying are between two to nine times more likely to consider suicide than non-victims (Marcoux 67-68). To help alleviate this problem it is the responsibility of educators to discuss this with their students as part of their internet safety discussion. Through the efforts of educators across the country we can promote internet security and encourage “safe surfing”. Communication through technology serves many purposes in the educational setting. The many benefits range from improving relationships with parents using various means through an emergency plan when the unexpected happens. These advances, plus many more, enhance the educational experience of students today. Section Three: Integrating Instructional Technology
Developments in technology have found their way into many aspects of our daily lives. Integrating instructional technology into the 21st century classroom is no exception and is essential in providing the teacher and student with the resources needed to be successful. The importance of this integration has been recognized to the point that, “for more than three decades, researchers, policymakers, and industry leaders have promoted computer technology use within and across learning environments to enhance teaching and learning” (Walery). The integration of technology in the classroom increases academic achievement and encourages creativity. Teachers are expanding their use of technology for learning because they believe it enhances their ability to communicate with the children and offers stimulating, interactive access to the numerous resources offered on the internet.
Through the integration of technology students are encouraged to collaborate, provide input, and share ideas. The students are requesting permission to install educational apps on their IPads which generates an increased level of excitement for learning for the student in a digital era. Teachers and students alike are always looking for the next great idea or the latest app, software or computer program to enhance the learning process (Walery). To effectively integrate technology into the classroom instructors need to understand how to match appropriate technology to the learning goals and expected student outcomes. As with any topic there are pros and cons and integrating instructional technology into the educational setting is no exception. As an educator I feel the positive side of technology in the classroom is the excitement that it brings to the student. There are many interactive websites available that brings learning to life and they are able to work independently and at their own pace. Students today are no longer sitting at their desk flipping through the pages of a textbook. Education in the 21st century has become more interactive and engages the student in the learning process.
The down side to the integration of technology in the classroom is the vast amount of information available through the internet. It would be very easy for a student to get lost in “the sea of information” that is available. Doing research, even as an educator, requires determination and patience. To make research easier for my students I would provide a list of recommended online resources and allow them to make the choice on which ones suit their needs the best. Students today have access to technologies at home and school, especially in the form of mobile technology such as smart phones and iPods. Wireless classrooms are evolving to keep pace with mobile technology. A wireless classroom utilizes the use of I pads which is a mobile computer that can access the internet (Walery). . This resource allows students to send e-mails through a secure site to their teacher and to communicate, for educational purposes, to another student. In addition to this many apps are available that can be used as management tools by teachers and students. Some of these resources include a calendar and calculator.
A wired classroom, in contrast, has multiple desktop computers. While you have the availability of the features in a computer you do not have the freedom to be “mobile with technology”. The integration of technology in the classroom is essential to support and improve the teaching ability of the instructor and the learning that takes place within the student. Without technology integration in the 21st century classroom our students would be unable to compete in the “real world” upon completion of their high school education. Section Four: Software to Support Assessment
Assessments, formative and summative, allow teachers to collect information to improve student learning. These assessments are an ongoing and continuing process with the major goals being to figure out where students are struggling and put more emphasis on those areas. Assessment in the classroom setting helps the teacher examine the expectations he/she has for the students. The assessment process also provides administration, teachers, and support staff to evaluate the curriculum. When a thorough assessment program at the classroom level balances formative and summative pupil learning/achievement data, a clear picture arises of where a student is in relationship to learning goals and standards (Garrison & Ehringhaus). There are two types of assessments used to evaluate a student’s progress, formative and summative. Both assessments are central portions of the collection of information and allow educators to get a balanced picture of a student’s strengths and weaknesses (Ehringhaus). According to Heritage, Kim, and Vendlinski (2007), formative assessment is a “systematic process to continuously gather evidence about learning and if incorporated into the classroom practice it provides the information needed to adjust teaching and learning while they are happening.” The data is then used to identify a student’s capacity to understand, learn, and adapt lessons to help the student to reach the desired learning goal. In the formative assessment the students are active participants along with their teacher.
The student shares their learning goals expressing an understanding on how their learning is progressing in addition to how well the material is being mastered. During the assessment process the student receives feedback which serves two functions: to identify problem areas and to provide positive reinforcement of successful achievement. One of the tools used in the formative assessment, which contributes to the success of the child is the student conference During the conference the pupil sits down with the teacher for a couple of minutes to ensure there is a sufficient level of comprehension with the lesson being taught. Instructor feedback serves to identify the degree to which the instructor was successful and to identify needed changes in instruction that need to be made to assist the student in mastering the material. Other tools used in the formative assessment include the formation of a graphic organizer and having a student turn in sentences identifying the main point of a lesson that has been taught. These tools allow the teacher to check the student’s comprehension of the material that has been presented. A summative assessment, in contrast, is used to evaluate student learning at the end of an instructional unit to determine what a student knows and does not know. This type of assessment is more formal and at the district/classroom level is an accountability measure that is part of the grading process (Garrison).
The student’s comprehension through the summative assessment is measured by an exam, project, or paper. The information that is received from this type of assessment is important it only helps in certain aspects of the learning process and can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of school programs, school improvement goals, alignment of the curriculum or student placement in specific areas. Think of the formative assessment as “practice” and do not hold the students accountable unlike the summative assessment in which plays a role in the students mark at the end of a grading period. There are several advantages to using technology when an instructor needs to assess student learning. When assessing a student via a computer the process is more rapid and productive. When using a computer the students work is graded as the assessment is taken. Another advantage is the human element is removed from the equation. An instructor could grade a test poorly based on their mood or because the student has poor handwriting. The downside to giving an assessment using technology is that computers cannot read written answers therefore the test would have to be provided in multiple choice formats. Another downside to assessing students on the computer is that this form of technology is unable to grade projects that are submitted by the children. Technology, like so many things we use in our daily routine, has its perks but does not replace a qualified teacher in the classroom setting. There are many websites and programs available for student assessment. Some of these resources are free while others offer a trial period.
Some of these educational sites, which can be used in formative or summative assessments, include Voice-over, PowerPoint games, Blogs, Interactive time lines, and Podcast. To keep children involved in learning teachers have a responsibility to explore every available avenue for formative and summative assessments to ensure the students is reaching their academic goals. The technological resources that can be utilized as a teacher are the online gradebook and e-mail. The online gradebook gives parents 24-hour access and allows the parents and students to track information regarding grades and upcoming assignments. Teachers, through the use of the online gradebook, can create assignments with specific dates for when their work is due. The ability to see when a particular student is not doing well because they do not complete work to be done at home or is having difficulty with assessments gives the teacher the opportunity to adjust due dates to accommodate the students specific needs. The online gradebook provides an adequate amount of vision into the educational setting for parents and is a tool I look forward to utilizing to enhance the education of my students.
E-mail, which improves communication for parents and teachers, is a requirement for students to be successful in their endeavors at school. Epstein (2008) observed that “more students earn higher grades in English and math, improve their reading and writing skills, complete more course credit, set higher aspirations, have better attendance, come to class more prepared to learn, and have fewer behavior problems…” when parents are active in their children’s lives. “Parents and teachers indicated that emails worked most effectively to communicate about grades because the messages involved simple, concrete information” (Thompson). E-mail is a resource I am looking forward to utilizing as an instructor as it is an effective means of communication with parents which is important for the academic success of their children. I do not feel that technology should be used exclusively for assessments. Assessment, as we have learned, involves more the just testing and grading assignments.
What goes on in the student’s life outside the classroom can affect how they perform at school. When parents choose to be active in their children’s education, they believe their efforts will have a positive impact on their children’s learning (Anderson and Minke). Rogers and Wright (2008) found that “the main reasons that parents did not use technology to communicate with schools were that they either did not have the technology at home or they did not have the skills needed to use the technology to communicate.” As educators, we need to find the balance between incorporating technology in our classrooms to keep our students engaged in 21st century learning while realizing the importance that face to face communication has in education. Section Five: Technology In The Classroom
The internet offers numerous learning opportunities and is loaded with an abundance of information. The concern for educators is how to encourage children to take part in constructive and imaginative learning while safeguarding them from inappropriate material, the possibility of coming into contact with people they do not know. Internet safety entails balancing perceived advantages against tolerable risk. There are many benefits to allowing students to engage in surfing the net. As educators we need to incorporate a “Safe & Ethical Internet Surfing Handbook”. The handbook will contain guidelines and a student use agreement form in which the students helped generate. The handbook will also contain information on how to make informed decisions on how to make ethical decisions while surfing the net. This includes proper citation to avoid copyright infringements. Involving the student in the creation of the handbook will facilitate a deeper understanding of the expectations.
Utilizing the internet the children gain valuable skills such as creativity, leadership, team building, confidence, communication, innovation, and initiative (Green and Harmon, 2007). To allow my students the many benefits offered on the internet I will create a Curriculum Resource Page. This tool is an instructor created document that consists of hyperlinks to various websites that have been evaluated and chosen by the teacher. The links provided on the resource page support and enhance the learning that is taking place in the classroom setting. An important aspect in utilizing the curriculum resource page is that it reduces the chance that the children will be able to gain access to a website that may be deemed inappropriate. The curriculum resource page is a valuable tool; however, the most important thing an instructor can do is observe the students while doing their lessons. Through observation the teacher can ensure the online safety of the students by making sure inappropriate material is not being viewed. The key is that ethical behavior is not a one or two day lesson, but theme educators discuss throughout the year (Jacobsen & Smith, 1998, paras, 5-6). There is valuable web site that can be incorporated into the classroom discussion regarding internet safety.SafeKids.ne.gov. has lessons, worksheets, and PowerPoint presentations that help reinforce the lessons of online safety to the children.
This resource is valuable as it incorporates role playing. This allows the students to be active participants in the lesson of online safety. Youth today are unlikely to think twice about committing a cybercrime (Newman, para.6) and is a growing concern with school-aged children. The use of “paper mills”, which are websites that deliver term papers which students can download at no cost and then turn in as their own original work. These sites have been increasing at an astonishing rate. In March of 1999 approximately 35 of these sites existed and by the end of 2003 the number had jumped to more then 250(Newman, para.9). Steube (1996) stated “as more and more schools venture onto the internet, incidents of plagiarism and copyright infringement that were once limited to classrooms are reaching an international audience (para.4). Plagiarism is viewed by the young as a low risk behavior and as educators it is our responsibility to teach the students that this behavior is unacceptable and comes with serious consequences. To ensure my students are respectful while utilizing the internet I will implement a student use agreement form that each child along with their parent/legal guardian will be required to sign as parents need to be involved in their child’s behavior while surfing the net.
This agreement will contain a code of conduct, in which the children can contribute their thoughts, which will incorporate issues concerning copyright, privacy, and proper use. As an educator I will instruct my students on the correct, ethical, use of computer know-hows as I introduce other age appropriate skills. Some of the areas I will place strong emphasis on are honesty, being trustworthy, and respecting the privacy of others. In addition to these areas of concern I will stress the importance of honoring copyright laws to avoid plagiarism. To ensure my students are aware of how to avoid plagiarism I would present a Power Point teaching the proper way to cite resources. I would show this resource intermittently throughout the year to make sure the concept is not forgotten. Through my effort my students will become responsible cyber-citizens (Baum, 2005). The incidence of plagiarism has become more become more widespread because it is easy to get the information by visiting websites on their specific topic. Other less known Codes of Computer Ethics I will address include is the use of all capital letters is considered yelling and therefore impolite, and that humor and sarcasm are viewed as criticism and therefore should be used sparingly or avoided all together.
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