Not the end……merely the begining

My CEP 812 class, Applying Educational Technology to Practice, is coming to an end. But I see it as just the beginning. CEP 812 also marks the end of the Educational Technology Certificate for me. To say I have learned something would be the understatement of the year. Prior to starting the Ed Tech Certificate at MSU, I had a solid knowledge base in technology-or so I thought. The things I have learned have brought my knowledge to a new level. I have new and fresh ideas to bring not only to my classroom, but to my district as well. I can say that thanks to the Certificate program, I am now addicted to Twitter and my ever growing PLN. I was involved with an educational technology chat via twitter with Arne Duncan-when did that happen?  Passion and Curiosity are what drive me.  It is my passion for educational technology that brought me to MSU. It was my curiosity that kept me going. 21st century learners will need both as technology continues to advance. There are a lot of technology tools, curiosity will bring learners to the innovative and new tools. Passion will keep those innovative tools going and not fade. Check out my info graphic around the technology I currently use and what I hope to use in the very near future. It may be small, but I don’t want to lose my passion.

Passion and Curiosity in the Classroom

Final Wicked Problem Project

The major project for my CEP 812 class, Applying Educational Technology to Practice was finding a solution to a Wicked problem. My group was charged with the task of solving the wicked problem of bringing teaching into the 21st century. We came up with the idea of using Project Based Learning as a way to do this. Check out our solution in our final product.

FInal Wicked Problem Project

Wicked Problem

In the movie, Argo, coming up with a the best worst solution was the goal to rescue the hostages from Iran.

It was a wicked problem that had only bad solutions. This week in my Applying Technology to Education practice class we had to take a wicked problem in education and find the best solution out of what seems like impossible solutions. My group was charged with rethinking teaching in the 21st century. Take a look at our solution to the wicked problem.

Wicked Problem

Sources:

“Argo Movie”Argo Movie Clip.” YouTube. YouTube, n.d. Web. 23 Oct. 2013. <http://www.youtube.com>.

Technology Integration in Communities of Practice

Technology is becoming an important part of the education community. As one to one programs and bring your own device initiatives make there way into classrooms around the country its important to not forget the people who are responsible for ensuring the use of these devices is purposeful and adds to the educational experience of students. This week for my applying educational technology to practice  class, I needed to create a survey and then send it to colleagues to get their feedback on technology. The goal is to share the information with my special education director as well as my peers. In the following link are my findings and thoughts.

Survey Inforgram

Technology Integration in Communities of Practice Response

Challenging My Own Ideas

This week for my blog for my CEP 812 class, Applying Educational Technology to Practice, I was challenged to follow three twitter handles I already don’t follow. The new Twitter handles needed to be ones that have differing opinions/thoughts from my one. Sounds easy right? Wrong, there was one Twitter handle in which I didn’t feel comfortable pushing the follow button. That may sound strange to some, especially as you read on to see which three Twitter handles I decided to follow, but for someone who is very particular about who they follow and who sees my information, it was one that took me out of my realm of feeling good.

The three new twitter handles I decided to follow were NEA, Common Core Ed Tech, and edutopia. The first two challenge by beliefs and ideas a little more than edutopia does. Why would someone ask since I a a teacher, shouldn’t I be in supportive of the NEA and the common core? There a number of issues I don’t agree with the NEA on and I am still not completely sold on the Common Core Standards. When I decided to follow the common core ed tech, I wanted to see how technology would be tied into the common core standards as well as look at the standards. NEA, even though it is the professional organization for teachers, I don’t always fully agree on what they are saying or telling me what I should support as a teacher. I will be honest, when I decided to follow the NEA, I was uncomfortable even pushing the follow button.

It is a challenge to go outside of the circles of thought I am comfortable with. But as someone I know always says to me, you have to listen to the other side in order to understand where they are coming from. It is important that both sides are in heard.  I am thinking the issue is as Gee states, “Nothing weighs more on the human mind than complexity(Gee, 2013, pg 140).” When one thinks about it maybe its the complexity of thought that drives us towards the groups that don’t offer the challenge to what or how we think. Ignorance is bliss, right? Gee also states that “Humans do not like to carry heavy things around in their minds, (2013, pg 133).”  So why then would people want to follow or interact with those who challenge their thoughts and ideas? Technology has made it easier to not have to follow or “listen” to those with differing opinions, especially with the filters that are applied to searches a person does. Facebook, Twitter and Google all do it, but as these technology tools have ‘control’ over what we see, making it easier for one to stay in their tech bubble. But what if people wear to ignore what was popping up in front of them and looked for pages and twitter handles that challenged ideas and made us carry the ‘heavy stuff’ as Gee puts it. The amount of technology that is around us is amazing, but is it time for people to go on a tech diet? Would the world change? Would new ideas emerge?

Major-Ed-Tech-Trends-2013-800

Sources:

Gee, J. P. (2013). The anti education era: Creating smarter students through digital learning. New York City: Palgrave Macmillion.

(2013). Major Ed Tech Trends for 2013 [Web Graphic]. Retrieved from http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2013/01/23/major-ed-tech-trends-for-2013/

 

Specific Learning Disabilities and Technology

This week for my Apply Educational Technology to practice class, I get to combine my two passions, specific learning disabilities and assistive technology. As a high school special education teacher, I am always looking for ways for students I work with to access the general education curriculum as well as to build the confidence of my students. There are several students I work with who struggle to get their thoughts down on paper, very often they are dictating their answers or papers to a teacher. For younger students this is exciting, but for the high school students it is embarrassing to be seen having an adult do things for your. Assistive technology gives students the independence they are looking for for, especially when it comes to writing.

Students with writing disabilities have difficulty with getting their thoughts from their brain to the paper, spelling and organizing their thoughts.  I chose to focus on using Dragon Speech Recognition as way to help students who struggle to write.  Dragon Speak allows students to take their thoughts and put them to paper using their voices, eliminating the step of having to use paper and pencil.

I was first introduced to Dragon as I was just beginning in special education and it is amazing to see how far it has come in a few short years. Using Dragon Speech Recognition Software, students with writing disabilities can build confidence and independence as they are allowed to write their papers with minimal adult assistance.  Take a look at what Dragon is  

After watching the video,  read my paper using research to back Dragon as a way to increase writing abilities of students who struggle with writing.

Writing Disabilities and AT