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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Technology is a Tool, Not a Learning Outcome

Use this image to think about the ways you're integrating technology into your lessons.  Have a technology success story? Share it in the comments section!

Image credit: Bill Ferriter

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Featured Guest Post: Sharing Not Comparing

Featured Guest Post from Susie Graham

I'm still not a blogger, but every once in awhile I need to get my thoughts out to share with my colleagues and just get them out of myself. I attended my first Playdate yesterday and this is my first blog since I've been on Twitter for awhile now. At Playdate I gained new Twitter followers and I actually met some people that I've been following on Twitter! It was so much fun. My Stop Comparing! title that I had forgotten about is even more appropriate. Even though many people at the Playdate are much more advanced in their knowledge and use of technology, comparing myself to them would do me no good. And they did not treat me as if I didn't belong. I was even a facilitator (at the prodding of my instructional technologist) and made it through that experience learning what to do better next time and happy that I took the chance and happy that the participants got some ideas and added to the discussion.

My main goal in this blog post is to encourage my Joliet colleagues to realize that wherever they are in technology, they need to stop comparing, stop feeling stupid, stop feeling pressured. Nobody is pressuring them. The pressure is self-imposed. The pressure is imposed by the changing world, not by their peers or their bosses. When we embrace the technology and the fun and the technology when it makes sense, we will stop feeling stupid and stop feeling pressured. The Playdate was teachers sharing with teachers--nothing more, nothing less. I really hope that we can start to do some things like this in Joliet. We are having "tracks" at our February SIP day. I hope that can be the start of teachers sharing with teachers. I know the Technology department is passionate about helping us and helping us to help each other. I really want to be a part of that movement and I know there are teachers out there doing fantastic things and I want to learn from you. Please consider sharing and not comparing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Are you using technology to transform instruction or is it simply replacing the old ways of doing things?

Image courtesy of The Ideasphere
John Dewey, the American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform once said, "If we teach today, like we taught yesterday, we rob our children of tomorrow."  When one considers the blistering pace at which technology is evolving, the exponential growth of knowledge as a free commodity, and Common Core State Standard's focus on applying skills, concepts, and understandings, this statement is more relevant now than ever.

In previous a previous blog post, "Technology Integration: How Do You Know if You are "Doing it Right?" we examined a helpful resource for teachers called the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM).  The TIM serves as a guide to evaluate, and identify whether the use of technology is teacher or student centered.  The student centered use of technology is the ultimate goal as it targets higher order technology skills in addition to empowering students to choose the appropriate technology "tool" to accomplish a task, solve a problem, or make a decision.

In this article, we're going to explore the SAMR Model.  Dr. Ruben Puentedura,  is the creator of the SAMR model for selecting, using, and evaluating technology in education, which currently guides the work of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative, as well as projects in Vermont and Sweden.

According to Technology Is Learning (TIS), "the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition Model (SAMR) offers a method of seeing how computer technology might impact teaching and learning. It also shows a progression that adopters of educational technology often follow as they progress through teaching and learning with technology." 

The TIS website goes on to say that "while one might argue over whether an activity can be defined as one level or another, the important concept to grasp here is the level of student engagement. One might well measure progression along these levels by looking at who is asking the important questions. As one moves along the continuum, computer technology becomes more important in the classroom but at the same time becomes more invisibly woven into the demands of good teaching and learning."  

Click on the image below to read a practical application of the SAMR Model. It's suggested that you read from the bottom of the chart up to the top of the chart.  In other words, moving from Substitution, the lowest level of technology integration on the continuum, to Redefinition, or the highest level of technology integration.

Watch the video below for a further look at the SAMR model.

In the 2nd year of our 1:1 laptop initiative at JTHS, and the SAMR Model is a straight forward guide to help teachers move from simply doing old things in new ways, to invisibly weaving technology into the classroom to redefine and transform teaching and learning.  As Chris Lehmann, the founding principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia says, "Technology should be like oxygen: ubiquitous, necessary and invisible."  

Our district's mission statement asserts, "the integration of technology is essential to motivating and engaging students in rigorous and relevant lessons. 1:1 technology provides anytime/anywhere learning and opens the doors to the critical thinking and problem solving skills that students need to compete and contribute in our global society."  Resources such as the Technology Integration Matrix (TIM) and the SAMR Model  can be counted on to realize the goals set forth by the district.  For more information on the topics discussed in this article, contact an instructional technologist about professional development opportunities at your campus.

Puentedura, Rueben R. "Hippasus." Hippasus. Dr. Ruben R. Puentedura, n.d. Web. 16 July 2013.

"SAMR Model - Technology Is Learning." SAMR Model - Technology Is Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2013.

"SAMR Model Explained for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning."SAMR Model Explained for Teachers ~ Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 July 2013.

"SAMR in 120 Seconds." YouTube. YouTube, 30 May 2013. Web. 11 July 2013.

Wagner, Tony. "“Graduating All Students Innovation Ready”." Tony Wagner. Tony Wagner, 14 Aug. 2012. Web. 16 July 2013.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Joliet West Teacher's Technology Integration Gains National Attention

Joliet West High School students Jocelyn Rios, Hristo Castillo, Jocelyne Quiles, and Kim Zamudio work in the school’s courtyard to produce an audio recording for the multimedia portion of the “This I Believe Narratives.”

Featured Guest Post from Kristine Schlismann

Joliet West High School English teacher Maggie Maslowski has been featured in the online education blog, The website, which has been highlighted on CBS News, the Huffington Post, and other news outlets, focuses on helping educators better their reach in the fields of writing, literacy, and communication.

Maslowski’s piece discusses a writing activity she presented to her students at the beginning of the school year. The activity required students to produce a detailed poster that featured proud moments and dream goals.

“The students then wrote down their ‘Proudest Moments’ to show off how amazing they are, their ‘Dream Goals’ to ensure that they kept their eyes on the prize, and their ‘Favorites’ to show their individual personalities that will enhance our classroom,” said Maslowski. “They also added a picture of themselves that was semi-current so that we could match their face with their name.”

The project allowed the student to apply writing skills in a creative way. “Students loved being able to show their creativity in English,” said Maslowski. “They weren’t just filling out a worksheet or writing a small paragraph for me that might be put away in some file folder and never showcased. They had an authentic audience: their peers and their parents.”

The students’ projects were displayed on a class ‘We Matter’ wall in Maslowski’s classroom. “Every day, students came to class and went to the ‘We Matter’ wall to see whose picture was up next,” said Maslowski. “And, their excitement showed when their own picture was up or one of their friends. They wanted to come to my class and they felt like they mattered.”

Technology in the Classroom

Maslowski was asked to be a guest blogger after Angela Maiers (@AngelaMaiers) noticed that students were tweeting about the project to @jthsmaslowski on Twitter. “It was a huge honor to be a guest blogger because Maiers is an educator known worldwide,” said Maslowski.

Maiers is a renowned educator who was recently honored at last year’s Bammy Awards, a national celebration of the value of education, educators and life-long learning. The honors are presented by the Academy of Education Arts and Sciences International, which includes an eclectic cadre of leading educators, education leaders, education professors, journalists, editors, researchers, commentators, advocates, activists, visionaries and pioneers.

In addition to her recognition from Maiers, Maslowski has been invited to participate in the Reform Symposium E-Conference (RSCON) in October. The online symposium includes presentations and keynote speakers from around the world. Through the Blackboard Collaborate platform, educators, students, and innovators can connect during RSCON to share initiatives about teaching and learning. Maslowski will be hosting a session titled “This I Believe Narratives.” The session describes the project Maslowski introduced to her students.

The “This I Believe Narratives” assignment project challenged students to express their personal beliefs in a variety of mediums, utilizing technology,” said Maslowski. “They wrote essays that were posted on the school’s online educational platform, JT Learn. The essays were then peer edited before students created multi-media video presentations through any program of their choice.”

This integration of technology into the classroom makes Maslowski’s project stand out among educators.

Maslowski will be presenting her project in an online session on Saturday, Oct. 12 at 3 p.m. Angela Maiers will also be a keynote speaker for RSCON. More information about RSCON and Maslowski’s session can be found by clicking here.