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Stephanie Quinn

EDET 650 Internship in Educational Technology
Dr. Tom Smyth
December 8,2014
Lessons learned:
The greatest learning during this project didn’t come from how to
create materials but from how to use technology to move my students
forward academically. As I researched everything from the effective
integration of technology to the need for quality teacher in-service I
noticed a variety of results. Some research studies hailed technology as the
miracle cure for student success, while others could find no strong
correlation between technology and greater student achievement. One
article suggests that we lack the sophisticated tools to accurately measure
the effects of technology on learning. (Jenkinson, 2008)
The more I read, The more I began to wonder if the effectiveness of
technology was not driven by how it was used in the classroom rather than
just the use itself. In another graduate class I read about a study titled:

Effects of Technology on Critical Thinking and Essay Writing Among Gifted
Adolescence (Dixon, Cassady, Cross, Williams, 2005) This article references
some of Dixon’s earlier work where students were taught critical thinking
using a strategy based on Hegelian Dialectic where they were asked to find
the thesis and antithesis while considering both sides in determining a
synthesis. Students who used this process daily scored considerably higher
on an analytical thinking measure than those students who didn’t use the
strategy. The study results showed that male gifted students wrote 83%
more words when typing than when handwriting an essay. They also scored
higher on the critical thinking assessment. I think the growth in learning was
facilitated by the learning strategy employed. Writing is a powerful way to
teach students to reflect on their learning. In this situation, I believe the
use of technology just made learning more efficient. So if that is the case
then perhaps technology like writing and reading are only effective in raising
student achievement when they are centered on teaching strategies that

promote critical thinking. I am still testing this idea on an informal basis
with my students. I don’t really have a tool to measure quantitatively how
their critical thinking is growing or whether the use of technology is having
any kind of impact on learning. Perhaps the new Aspire Science Test will give
me some incite into whether my teaching strategies are effective.
One of my recent assignments on Google Classroom was to have my
students import data into a Google spreadsheet and create a graph. The
students then read information on the type of information scientist can
gather by analyzing ice core data with regards to volcanic eruptions and
climate changes. Students used this information to analyze the graphed data
and reflect in writing on how the data related to the summer of 1816.
Granted they didn’t analyze this the way you or I would. But most students
were able to make the connection between the large eruption of Tambora in
1815 and the events the following summer where temperatures were
relatively cooler. A few students understood the impact sulfates have on our
atmosphere as well as the impact this event had on society.
The use of technology is defiantly more efficient for both the
students and myself. I was able to collect their assignments electronically
and grade them with a rubric that dropped the grades into a spreadsheet.
Now, if I just had a grade book that would interface with Google Classroom
I wouldn’t have to enter those grades into power teacher by hand. The
greatest gain for me throughout this process has been the change in
pedagogy in my classroom with regards to how I use technology in the
learning process.
Difficulties you encountered and the conclusions you have reached as a
result:
One of the hardest aspects of this project was finding a focus. I
knew I wanted to create a resource that would be useful to the teachers in
my district. I was looking to create a site to help teachers integrate
technology seamlessly into their classrooms. The purpose of integrating
skills such as reading, writing, or technology is to facilitate learning. If the
strategy or tool I use does not increase learning or make learning more
efficient then I have wasted my students’ time and mine. When I began this

project my mentor and I brainstormed a lot of ideas. My initial concern was
that it would just become a hodgepodge of cute tools and useless
information. While I was researching I found myself going off on tangents. I
wanted to find the research behind each practice or tool. The vision for my
site changed numerous times. At first I limited myself to just a very few
web 2.0 tools with examples of how it could be used in the classroom along
with some “how to” videos. It wasn’t until the District Office approached
the 8th grade English teacher and myself about piloting Google Classroom
with our students that I was able to visualize my final product.
Successes you achieved and the new insights you have gained from
achieving them:
Through out my internship I felt like I wasn’t really working as I
should. “Perhaps I should spend my time creating a product” instead I spent
a great deal of time reading and researching how other teachers used
technology. I spent even more time reflecting on how technology should look
in my classroom. Thinking about how to create an environment that provided
my students with an authentic learning experience. In the end the countless
hours of reading and reflecting paid off. By implementing a variety of tools
in connection with teaching strategies that promote critical thinking I
believe I have the experience to share with other teachers. Any one can
create a list of cute tools to use with students. However, I have tried and
true strategies that I can share with regards to how these tools will
promote student achievement. Google Classroom has been paramount in
allowing me to seamlessly integrate technology into the classroom. My
colleague and I have presented this information to the School Board at their
monthly meeting. We also provided a video, which reflected the students’
ideas and experiences with Google Classroom. This was the tool I needed to
make technology integration work in my classroom. It has forced me to think
about new ways to teach the same content through the lens of technology,
reading, writing, and critical thinking.

Things you would do differently next time and why:
The one thing I wish I could change is the time it takes me to process
information and come up with a plan of action. That is not something I have
been able to change. I have over the years learned how live with it. I usually
just start with something and then make the appropriate changes as I
reflect on what works and what doesn’t; eventually it comes together. My
ability to monitor and adjust along the way far outweighs my ability to see
the big picture ahead of time. Another problem I encounter, is knowing what
I want to create but not being able to explain or envision it at first. That
would be problematic if I worked in the corporate sector where I had to
work on demand.
I guess another barrier for me continues to be locating scholarly
resources. This I have the power to change. I would like to become more
efficient in finding relevant research. This is an area where growth is very
slow. I found some research that I would like to have read but didn’t find a
free version on the web. I should have made the effort to spend some time
at the USC Upstate campus library to locate some of this information. This
is a skill I need to perfect if I choose to continue my education in a doctorial
program somewhere.
Interesting ways your experience relates to previous course work -especially unexpected or conflicting results:
Even though our classes have been a blend of technology and theory I
still think of this degree in terms of creating technology. For me the focus
is always on the theory and then how I will use the technology to implement
the theories. At first I thought I might be way off in my thinking, after all
this is about developing technology, right? Maybe not, in retrospect there is
probably a reason the courses in this graduate degree are a good blend of
theory and technology.
I loved creating our video last year in your class. So I have been
working in Camtasia to create screen casts and videos to include in my
teacher resource website. I have also used a great deal of the theory we
have learned. Much of it just verified my intuitive style of teaching. I am

more mindful of using these theories in a purposeful way. Now when someone
ask why I chose to teach a certain way I can quote the theory from which
the strategy came.
Strong emotions you experienced and why:
The first three emotions that come to mind are panic, frustration, and
relief. I was in a panic because I just could not envision what I wanted to
create. I knew I didn’t want it to be superficial. I wanted to showcase
technology integration with substance. The kind of learning that would
promote higher level thinking yet something that was easy to implement and
would be enjoyable for my students.
The frustration came from trying some of these things out in the
classroom. I would spend lots of time in preparation so that in the classroom
things would go smoothly. I go into class confident I have thought through
every possible pitfall only to dive head first into one that I don’t have a
ready answer for. When you look on the positive side of this experience, it
allows for real world critical thinking and problem solving not only for me but
for my students as well.
The last emotion is relief. This emotion is brought on by the successes
I am finally seeing with the implementation of Google Classroom. Relief that
I have successfully navigated through two school visits: one from Palmetto’s
Finest and the other from Schools that Work; while working on my graduate
degree and being a mom to two very active boys. Relief that I have a final
product I am proud of, one that has the depth required for true student
growth. And finally relief that a much needed break is around the corner and
I can spend a couple of weeks reading mindless fiction.