The last few months, I have embarked on learning the technology tools that teachers are using in the classroom, or at least are being taught in professional development and credentialing programs. This post is a place to explore the list that I have accumulated from my experiences. I participated in a Stanford Workshop that took place over the summer that was conducted by Dan Meyers, and I enrolled in a course at UCSD that consisted of pre-service elementary teachers taught by Dr. Chris Halters.
Now, I’m not sure how useful this is going to be for anybody, because teachers are already diving into tools and even being forced to take on new tools. From my experience teaching, there’s plenty to do with the tools already in place. But, I do think that productivity is the name of the game, and if you take your profession seriously, these tools can help in providing support in improving skills, staying informed, and developing professionally as an educator/researcher.
With every item, I will also take on the task of including potential research questions and/or implications for teaching that may provoke some level of insight into how one may analyze these tools within the context of math education and reform. Your input and/or comments are highly encouraged. Please feel free to add to the list.
Without further ado and in no particular order:
Delicious.com - Are you an active peruser of the web? Are you bookmarking every link you like? Well, if you would like a more effective way to classify and search your sites, then look no further. This website is great for managing your sites, but its “x-factor” is the social media component an develop. Register and check it out.
How can we observe teacher practices from a research standpoint? Aside from all the current work relating to learning, can we improve on what teachers do besides the curriculum?
I am always interested in how technology can actually add value for teachers, and I would seriously consider this tool for professional development. With all the information on the web, it would be wise to follow blogs and sites that are modifying and adding new lessons. We should educate teachers how to utilize this source for doing professional development on their terms. With an appropriate system in place, it may be valuable to have teachers stay active in adding/modifying their account and providing some form of evidence of executing new ideas from their account in order to show some form of professional growth.
Google Reader/Drive - This one is self-explanatory, but if you’re not sure what this is, well, google it. The suggestion I make with delicious.com applies also to Google Reader. Again, having teachers staying informed about their profession is vital for furthering their teaching skills. I treat my role as a teacher as a professional one. As such, it is my responsibility to grow as an educator, and there should be a system in place that readily allows teacher to participate in this important behavior. With technology, it’s never been this easy.
Google Drive provides essentially everything you would need for teaching math concepts that Microsoft office has to offer, but there’s a plethora of ways of utilizing The Drive. How does the social component change learning? Google Forms provides a easy way to poll students and gather information. How can we research this? Are there ways students are learning by sharing documents/spreadsheets? How does this affect socio-cultural learning?
Edmodo - Teachers should definitely consider managing their classroom with edmodo. Again, social media is changing the classroom. How can we design instruction fully optimize these tech tools? How is this affecting learning? Are we increasing understanding?
Scratch.com / Alice – Students need to learn computer programming. What’s interesting is how we have introduced new Common Core Standards, and nothing is mentioned for computer science. We’re falling behind yet again on what we need students to learn. But, if you really believe students should learn programming, then here are two great sites for doing that. What if we taught teachers how to develop programs? Is there value there for teachers too? I think we’ll find that out as new programs and languages are made available for people without any programming experience. Either way, learning logic and programming can be beneficial for anybody.
Well, there are a ton of more sites and softwares we can talk about, but I think some interesting questions reside with how teachers learn and development their skills. One major concern is time. Teachers need more time to develop as a professional in the field of education. One or two hour prep periods is not enough and having PD once a month is also a failure. Secondly, how PD is actually implemented is another issue altogether.
Would love to hear your thoughts.