Friday, July 24, 2009

Technology in the classroom

Technology in the classroom must be more than an intrusion, a novelty item. Successful uses of laptops in the classroom must focus on contextually appropriate activities. Laptops must be used to challenge students to produce a higher quality product. Laptops must be used to heighten literacy skills, both technology literacy and information literacy.

Students are capable of using technology to extend the classroom. They are more confident in using technology than many faculty members. Technological applications should be used to reinforce workplace skills. Instructional uses of laptops should focus on providing opportunities to collaborate with other students. The greatest potential use of laptops provides opportunities for collaboration and communication. It is not the simulations, the tutorials, and the presentation software that provide an environment for students to work together. The technology is the environment that allows students to work together in ways that were never possible before the laptops became an integral part of the educational landscape.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Going Digital, Paperless and Still Remaining Organized

  1. Convert hard copy items to digital. For the most part, everything is digital. You may need to scan or digitize some items. Don’t try and digitize EVERYTHING NOW, just those items you need NOW. Digitize the others as time permits.
  2. Develop a digital filing cabinet. A place for everything and everything in its place. Using tags to quickly sort and find items can make retrieval quick and painless. There are several applications that will let you create tags for items.
  3. Digital to-do lists. Whether using the email as a to-do list or reminder, digital formats will be available and you won’t have to worry about misplacing a post-it note. I have known some who use their voice mail as a to-do or reminder system.
  4. Use an electronic or digital calendar. It’s so easy to add events AND attach files to a calendar event.
  5. Thumb drives or flash drives provide the greatest sense of mobility. There are computers almost everywhere. A flash drive is much smaller and lighter than a stack of folders and notes.
  6. Backup, backup and backup. Going digital and paperless relies heavily on technology. If something (or some device) crashes AND you have no backup, you may have problems.
  7. REGULARLY access multiple computers and keep your bookmarks (URLS) updated or “synched” with a number of web-based applications.
  8. Link multiple documents together with HYPERLINKS. Most applications will allow you to hyperlink documents (creating a virtual table of contents).
  9. Some applications now have a “versioning” feature where you can save versions AND roll back to a particular version. No real need to have multiple files anymore.
  10. Digital phones, or SMART phones are wonderful! Having many of the features of a computer, you can check email, browse the web and view files with one common device.
  11. Several applications that have helped me go digital, paperless and remain organized include Google Documents, Google Forms, Google Sites and Evernote (just to name a few).
  12. Try some small step. It may be difficult at first (there may a tendency to walk by a copy machine and WANT to copy something).
  13. By going digital I can quickly update and revise materials.
  14. By going paperless I eliminate the “the copy machine’s out of paper/toner.”
  15. By going digital AND paperless I have found myself a bit more organized and able to find things quicker.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Rethinking Technology and Effective Technology Leadership

Effective technology leadership promotes growth. Promoting growth involves providing access. Providing access allows learning anywhere, anytime and anyplace.
  • Effective technology is technology that can improve teaching and learning. Technology in this sense compliments teaching and learning.
  • Technology promotes growth. Individual learning styles can find technology that matches their unique and individual styles.
  • Access is more than connectivity, access includes availability. A common platform is more than common technology.
We must re-think what technology does. We must re-think how technology is and should be used. No longer can technology be assumed to impact teaching and learning. We must change how we teach, we must acknowledge how students learn. Technology CAN change.

The questions are WHO can technology change? and WHEN does technology have the greatest potential for change?
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