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.

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. Critical Evaluation: 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.

Gulati, S. (2008). Compulsory participation in online discussions: is this constructivism or normalisation of learning?. Innovations in Education & Teaching International, 45(2), 183-192. doi:10.1080/14703290801950427. Theory-into-Practice Summary: This article discusses if online learning is really constructivist learning or is it a model of more traditional objectivist learning. This article looks at the design of some online courses. The author argues that many teachers organize their course in a way that the teacher is the information giver. The author argues that to truly be a constructivist design course the teacher must arrange the course where the student is the information finder. The author also argues that class discussion do not necessary lead to constructivist learning. The author states the teacher must be careful and create an environment where the student is eager to learn and participate not just follow the prompt in order to earn a grade. Critical Evaluation: I found this article interesting for two reasons. First of all, I have been participating in online classes for my fourth straight semester. I have found that some classes have been truly a constructivist class where as other classes have simply been objectivist classes. I have also found that the classes I learn more in are classes where I am to discover my own learning. However, in these classes the professor is available and really helps lead discussion and helps answer any questions about assignments. The second reason I found this article interesting is because I am teaching students participating in my grade recovery class through an online wiki for my school. This article made me want to evaluate what I am doing in this course to make sure it is a true constructivist learning experience for my students. I felt like this article does a good job of describing a true constructivist classroom. However, I wish that it would have given good examples of actual courses that were designed in a constructivist manner. Though there were no example the article does a good job of providing the reader with a diagram showing what a constructivist designed course should look like.

Collis, B., & Moonen, J. (2008). Web 2.0 tools and processes in higher education: quality perspectives. Educational Media International, 45(2), 93-106. doi:10.1080/09523980802107179. Professional Practice Summary: This article discussed Web 2.0 and it benefits to higher education. This article discussed Web 2.0 tools and what they are, gave examples of the various types of Web 2.0 tools, and it gave examples of how Web 2.0 tools could be used in the classroom. The article went on to discuss the how learning has changed during the Web 2.0 period that started in 2004. The author stated three challenges to using Web 2.0 tools in higher education. Those challengers were: 1. The accreditation process 2. Copyright issues 3. A reduction in the quality of the experience by the institution. The author concluded the article by discussing the ever-changing educational system and the ever-changing World Wide Web. Though this is the direction education is heading many are not quite sure of the benefits of using Web 2.0 as educational tools. However, if institutions are going to prepare student for the 21st century they must embrace these new tools. Critical Evaluation I believe this article does a good job of laying the groundwork for Web 2.0 tools to be used in the classroom in higher education. The article also gives good example of how you can use Web 2.0 tools. I will even use several of their examples in my classroom. Though I plan to experiment further with Web 2.0 tools I have used some of them previously in my class. One tool I used was Twitter. I tried to connect students to supplemental material outside of the classroom in order to enrich my class. Though the author does a good job of backing his views up with professional literature. He could really strengthen his views with research. Some type of research would have given this article legitimacy as opposed to just quality information.

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. Critical Evaluation. 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.

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.

Qiyun, W. (2009). Designing a web-based constructivist learning environment. Interactive Learning Environments, 17(1), 1-13. doi:10.1080/10494820701424577. Theory-into-Practice Summary: In the beginning of the article the author discusses the difference between a classroom based on the ADDIE model of planning and a classroom based on the CLE model of planning. The author then goes on to discuss the difference between an learning community and a social community and how those two different communities relate to each other in the process of education. Next, the author explains what her research will exist of. She does a good job of explaining who is involved, teacher candidates, and where they will be learning, on line classroom through Moodle. She then goes on to explain Moodle and why it is being used and how the students will use the online classroom. She then goes on to explain what types of lessons the students will be learning and how they are learning in a constructivist-learning environment. Once the experimental time frame has expired she then surveys the students about their experience in the online classroom. The author closes out the paper by giving her thoughts about the pedagogical and social impacts of the study and what steps could be taken in further research. Critical Evaluation I believe the strengths of the article are the fact the author does a really good job of explaining the online classroom Moodle. This is something I might actually use now because of this article. I feel the weaknesses of this article are the fact that the author does not go into specifics about what the students are using. She just says things like the students chose a topic. She does not mention what the class was or what was the range of topics. Overall, I really enjoyed this article. It really challenged me to teach in a more constructivist manner. I want to really challenge my student in order to push them to think more critically.

Scheuerell, S. (2010). Virtual Warrensburg: using cooperative learning and the internet in the social studies classroom. Social Studies, 101(5), 194-199. doi:10.1080/00377990903493861. This article is about an awesome project that a teacher in Warrensburg Missouri created. Scott Scheurell would have students work in cooperative learning groups in order to create a Virtual Warrensburg. He would have students go to several historical places in the town of Warrensburg and take pictures and notes. The students would then bring that information back to the school and work on creating a webpage with the information they collected at the various places they visited. In the beginning of the article the author discusses how the Internet could isolate the individual, but at the end he discusses how the PIES model of cooperative learning could break that isolation. The PIES learning module is an acronym for Positive Interdependence, Individual accountability, Equal participation, and Simultaneous interaction. Critical Evaluation I enjoyed reading this article. I believe this would be an awesome project for an eighth grade Georgia History class focusing on the history of your local community. I believe the author does a great job of motivating social studies teacher to use technology in the social studies classroom. The article also does a good job of giving a model for other teachers to use for online cooperative learning, PIES. One weakness of the article is that it does not address how students without access to the Internet at home will complete the project. There is a large amount of work for the students to complete. If the students do not have access to the Internet at home how would they finish the project. Overall, I really enjoyed this article and it inspired me to experiment with online cooperative learning groups using the PIES model.