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Posts tagged technology

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The Horizon Report 2012

The Horizon Report is issued yearly by the New Media Consortium, an organization whose purpose is to spur discussion and innovation of edtech in schools, universities, and museums. Each year, the group releases a report for each of the three constituencies, titled the Horizon Report. The 2012 Horizon Report for Higher Education has just been released. The reports for secondary education and museums will follow.

The basic outline of all three reports will be the same, just the specifics will be tailored to each constituency. I have downloaded the 2012 report for higher education and worked my way through most of it. There is an executive summary for a quick overview, then three main parts. 

The first part is a look at look at technologies whose time to adoption is seen as one year or less. The two areas of focus this year are Mobile Apps and Tablet Computing. After a discussion of each area, there are links to examples of the area in practice and then links for further reading. In the past I have found these links valuable in generating ideas I could integrate into my own teaching.

The next section of the report focuses on technologies with a time to adoption of two to three years. This year’s focus is on Game-Based Learning and Learning Analytics. I started teaching before the computer game craze took root, but the idea of game-based learning is very intriguing to me. Learning analytics seems to be the logical progression of the data-driven decision-making movement of the last ten years. 

The final part of the Horizon Report examines technologies which might have an impact on education with a time to adoption of four to five years. The two areas mentioned are Gesture-Based Computing and the Internet of Things. Gesture-based computing reminds me of a TED talk, by Patty Maes, as well as playing Wii games with my daughter’s family. I am excited to see how this technology can be integrated into education. The Nest thermostat reminds me of the beginning of what the internet of things could become, and it is very exciting. I’ll leave it to better minds than mine to figure out how to integrate it into education.

Take the time to download and look at the Horizon Report 2012. Join the New Media Consortium, and add it to your list of edtech resources.

Filed under education edtech technology

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Technology Integration - One Teacher’s Story

Back in the late 1980s, we had a principal who kept saying, “show me the measurable benefits of purchasing technology.” I finally asked him how he proposed to measure the impact of technology adoption. After much discussion, we finally put in a computer lab and it was used primarily by our English teachers as a glorified typing lab. When I retired last June, we still had English teachers bringing their students in to type up (and print out) their term papers.

In the 1980s, I talked out department (Social Studies) chair into purchasing a department computer for us to use to create databases of test questions. This worked well, and I still have those first databases with hundreds of questions I typed in, then selected from to make a variety of tests. For a long time, my computer use was limited to creating things for my use with my classes: tests, courses of study, syllabi, reading lists, etc.

The 1990s brought a change of administration and the integration of a very helpful IT department in our district brought us carts of laptops, which we could bring into class, and the first of many professional development opportunities to learn about new hardware and software and how to integrate it into what we do in the classroom. I began to use PowerPoint and had students doing online research to address questions and issues that were raised by our readings.

The 2000s saw a major change in what we did in the classroom. Whiteboards and digital projectors were placed in many rooms. All teachers were issued laptops of their choice (Mac or PC), and entire professional development days were dedicated to technology integration. Our district began to use Moodle. Teachers began to use clips from YouTube in class. Even though our school banned cell phones, I encouraged students to use their smart phones to access information during class, especially from our class website, blog, and wiki. In fact, wikis let me post essay questions ahead of time so students could collaboratively work on potential answers. I used class blogs to post assignments and questions to extend the discussions we had during the class period (I used to use email discussion lists the same way).

As a district, we moved to a gradebook program which allowed parents and students to see their grade at all times. Yes, we still had a few teachers who used a paper gradebook, but they were required to also post grades to the district online program. The district reached out to the community through a web site, Facebook page, and Twittter.

Social Media grabbed my attention about three years ago. I joined Twitter and slowly found a group of people to follow. I shared this with my department and nearly all of us use Twitter, some more than others. My online contacts led me to PLNs and, after creating my own, I worked with our IT department to train teachers and administrators throughout our district in developing their own unique PLNs.

I was lucky to work in a district that had the money to spend on technology and the foresight to provide training to teachers to integrate technology into their classes. Educators are being criticized for not moving ahead and preparing students for the 21st century. This criticism is wrong and politically motivated. Change is taking place and the way I taught at the end of my career was much different from how I taught 35 years before, much different. I was but one teacher, and I was not alone.

Filed under education technology