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TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 53(6), 66-75. doi:10.1007/s11528-009-0346-y. Summary: This article is about the role of technology coordinators with in the school setting. This article states that the role of the technology coordinator defined by four things: instruction, technical, analysis, and leadership. The technology coordinator must first be able to use technology with in the instructional setting, meaning the technology coordinator must be able to teach students with technology. Secondly, the technology coordinator must be able of operate the technological aspect of the technology available. Next, the technology coordinator must be able to analyze different types of technology and determine if it is appropriate for the classroom. Finally, the technology coordinator must be a leader. The article spend a lot of time discussing the role the technology coordinator must play as a leader at a specific school. The authors even conducted research by surveying teachers about their opinions of the technology coordinator at their respective schools. The authors concluded that is used properly the technology coordinator could be one of the most influential leaders in the school. Critique: I enjoyed reading this article. I think it is very important for the technology coordinator to be a leader with in the school. The technology coordinator needs to work directly with administration in order to promote learning in the 21st century. The technology coordinator can also help cast the vision of the leadership of the principal. The technology coordinator can help find the technology that will help the school improve and prepare students for not only college but the demands of the workplace n the 21st century. Overall, I found this article very useful. I believe the technology coordinator can play a major role in the improvement of a school if given the chance.
Devlin-Scherer, R., & Sardone, N. (2010). Digital simulation games for social studies Classrooms. Clearing House, 83(4), 138-144. doi:10.1080/00098651003774836. Professional Practice Summary: This article was about using digital simulations in the social studies classroom. The study used college sophomores who were studying to be social studies teachers. The students were to participate in digital simulations/games that they could use in the classroom once they are teaching in their individual classroom to help enrich the curriculum. These students enjoyed playing these games and admitted they learned information they did not know about subjects they felt like they had a wealth of knowledge on. This article concluded that digital game could be used to enrich information learned in the social studies classroom. However, in order for students to fully benefit from simulations the teacher must act as a facilitator of information instead of a provider of information. Critique: I personally found this article very interesting. I have used simulations in my classroom previously and have had success. However, I must note I have never used digital simulations, because like the article stated there is a lack of availability. However, if I ever teach world history again I would love to find a copy of the Easter Island simulation mentioned in this article. Though I felt like the article was exactly right in their findings, I felt like testing actual high school or middle school students would strengthen the results. Using current teenage students would also help to see if the simulation/game was grade level appropriate and curriculum appropriate. Therefore the strengths of the article are that is brings to the fore front of how simulations could help enrich your class, but the weaknesses are that the researchers never use these simulations in a high school or middle school setting. Simulations like these would be very helpful to a school technology coordinator. These simulations would allow for the school technology coordinator provide a tool for the social study teacher to use.
Lin, F., & Chiou, G. (2008). Support-seeking and support-giving relationships of school technology coordinators. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39(5), 922-927. doi:10.1111/j.14678535.2007.00784.x. Summary: This article is about the social network of school technology coordinators with in the school setting. The author then goes on to briefly explain the roles of a school technology coordinator. Those roles are as follows: technician, a trainer, a curriculum consultant or designer, and an innovator of educational technology. The article then goes on to discuss the relations variables involved in the study such as general work knowledge awareness. The authors then briefly described their research. They used 25 school technology coordinators from middle schools in Taiwan. They asked them about their social relationships and whom they were in contact the most. The article concluded that school technology coordinators had a very small social network and their communication was either support seeking or support giving. Critique: I found this article very hard to read. The author used a lot of technical speak that made it very difficult to read. However, the article did forewarn me that if I ever became a technology coordinator that I must keep my network open. I also need to be more of an information giver rather than an information seeker though both types of interaction are important. If used properly the school technology coordinator can be used to improve student learning. We must remember that the reason we do things are for the kids and that is what is important.
Obringer, S., & Coffey, K. (2007). Cell phones in American high schools: A national survey. Journal of Technology Studies, 33(1/2), 41-47. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. Research Article Summary: This article began with a very negative view of cell phones in schools. It gave several example of how students could abuse cell phones in the school setting. One example was taking pictures of students in the locker room. Though the article does not sound promising for the use of cell phones in the beginning of the article the author quickly changes his perspective. The researchers survey principals from all 50 states about cell phone usage in their school district. The author went on to share these results and his analysis of these results. On a side note, I found it interesting in 2007 that 16% of the reporting principals worked in a district with no cell phone policy. In the conclusion the author discusses how cell phones have become an integral part of our society and that educators need to learn how to use cell phones as a tool instead of something that is evil. Critique: I think the survey the author conducted really shows the strengths of the article. I believe it shows cell phones are something that needs to be brought to the forefront in educations. Districts like the one I work for are too busy condemning cell phones instead of finding ways to use them in the classroom. Cell phones are here to stay and educators need to find ways to integrate them into the classroom. Instead of demonizing cell phones we need to learn to use them. I know that kids are kids and they can be easily distracted with a cell phone, but instead of them having to work to hide the phone make them use it so that they can be productive with the phone. Though the author is aware cell phones are issues, and there is a possibility cell phones could be used as good they could strengthen their article by surveying students. I believe we need to get the student perspective on cell phones. This would help educators really grasp how to use the cell phone in the classroom. With the current economic conditions funding for things like “clickers” or student response system may be non-existent. By using cell phones as student response systems school technology coordinators could save themselves money and time spent writing grants in order to fund technology.
Roe, M. (2010). Wiki technology and the return to rigor. Leadership, 39(3), 20-22. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. Professional Practice Summary: This article begins with the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and how it is affecting learning in our schools in the United States of America. NCLB in theory would have created rigor in the classroom, but because of the emphasis of standardized test NCLB has actually put the focus on test preparation instead of learning. The author then gives the seven things that students need to be successful in a global economy: 1. Critical thinking and problem solving 2. Collaboration across networks and leading by influence 3. Agility and adaptability 4. Initiative and entrepreneurialism 5. Effective oral and written communication 6. Accessing and analyzing information 7. Curiosity and imagination How are students going to compete in a global economy if their learning is being measured on how well they are to perform on test? West Valley High School in California has found the solution to this problem. West Valley is using wikis. They are using wikis to connect students to the faculty, students to students and the school to the community. They feel as if the wikis are producing students who are prepared for the 21st century and a global economy. Critical Evaluation I really enjoyed reading this article. I feel as if it does a good job of giving me the material I need in order to justify using wikis to teach my students. I believe this article does a good job of preparing its readers for education in the 21st century. However, I feel as if it could be stronger if it gave links to specific wikis created by the students themselves. I would love to see a wiki that the students created. Next semester I am teaching an American Government class to freshmen repeaters. I am planning on having them create a wiki to use as a digital portfolio. This article does a good job of getting me motivated to use wikis in my classroom. Wikis are provided free by many services. This would save school technology coordinators much money. Also the simplicity of teaching
teachers to use wikis during staff development would help the school technology coordinator communicate with the staff and help provide a 21st century learning experience for the student of the school in which they serve.
Couse, L., & Chen, D. (2010). A tablet computer for young children? Exploring its viability for early childhood education. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 43(1), 75-98. Retrieved from Academic Search Complete database. Research Article Summary: This article describes research that was conducted on children from the ages of three to six years old. The researchers used mixed method research to gage pre-K to 1st grade student’s interest and skill level of using a tablet computer. The researcher broke the study down into four phases. The first phase the researchers introduced the students to the gateway tablet computers and allowed the students to become familiar to many of the tools that the tablet had to offer. The second phase the students were asked to look into a mirror and draw a picture of themselves on the tablet computer. The third phase of the research was the children interviews. The researchers asked the students what medium they preferred to draw with, traditional mediums such as crayons, markers, paint, and paper or the tablet computer. Sixty-four percent of the students said they preferred the tablet computer. The fourth phase of the research was the teacher interviews. A majority of the teachers were proponents of the tablet computers, however some were skeptical that the students enjoyed the tablet computers simply because they were new. The researchers concluded that tablet computers were not only valuable learning tools for middle and high school students, but also preschool students also. Critical Evaluation: Though I teach high school social studies this article caught my eye because I have a three-year-old daughter. One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is play with my iPhone. We have tried to introduce the computer to my daughter, but she hasn’t quite made the connection with the mouse and the screen. This led to a discussion about getting the family an iPad instead of a new computer. I was fortunate enough to borrow one of our school’s new iPads for the Labor Day weekend. I can honestly say that I observed results similar to the ones that the researchers observed. My daughter’s favorite thing to do on the iPad was to draw. I added many educational apps and apps from my daughters favorite TV shows, but her favorite thing to do was draw on a blank canvas. The only weakness in my observations and the observations of the researchers was that the focus was more on how would the students use the tablet computer in general rather than how would they use the tablets to learn. I do agree preschool students need to learn to use tablet computers because this looks to be the
trend of the future. By being aware of future trends school technology coordinators can prepare students for future challenges. School technology coordinators must constantly be seeking out the newest ideas and challenges in order to prepare students for the future.
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