With each passing week I gain further confidence in my ability to effectively incorporate instructional technology in meaningful ways. As I continue to explore instructional strategies for seamlessly integrating technology into my content instruction I have taken the first steps towards developing an action GAME plan that will assist me in synthesizing my learning into my classroom practice. In reviewing the components of my GAME plan, as per Cennamo, Ross, and Ertmer’s (2009) criteria, I have establish learning goals which will further develop my confidence and proficiency in relation to two indicators in the National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T). I have identified purposeful actions that will aid me in achieving my goals, and additionally determined strategies for the monitoring of my progress. Lastly I have highlighted the manner in which I will evaluate my learning. In moving forward with the action and implementation process it is necessary to identify what resources will be needed to carry out the plan successfully, whether any additional information is needed, and if I have taken any steps towards completion.
The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE, 2008) notes how effective teachers need to be able to “design, implement, and assess learning experiences…[which] engage students and improve learning; enrich professional practice; and provide positive models for students, colleagues, and the community”. In targeting NETS-T standard two and the design and development of technology-based learning experiences and assessments, the successful realization of my professional development goal necessitates utilizing learning experiences which can effectively incorporate digital technologies and resources which promote self-directed learning and enhanced opportunities for student creativity.
In pursuing my goal of developing a technology-enriched learning environment the effective selection and use of appropriate technology resources will be paramount to me and my students achieving success. With the integrated use of selected technologies and the principles of universal design for learning my technology-infused instruction will provide my students with multiple means of engaging with materials as a result of heightened access to innovative technology. The instructional integration of multi-media resources including the integration of Voice Threads and podcasting; interactive technologies such as Smartboards and document cameras; video conferencing equipment and online collaboration forums; and bookmarked online resources for all subjects, will assist in identifying and targeting areas of student weakness, strength, and personal interest. Clearly the effective integration of technology will provide assistance in facilitating straightforward differentiation in terms of my students’ diverse learning styles, instructional needs, and ability levels. This purposeful differentiation and customized instruction will enable my students to, as noted in the ISTE (2008) NETS-T, “pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress”. Additionally personal learning and close collaboration with fellow teachers and administrators both in and outside our school will also provide a source of effective resource information as well as invaluable instructional experience that can aid in matching learning activities to students and their abilities.
In relation to my other identified goal relating to NETS-T standard five and the commitment to continuously improve my “professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in [my] school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources” (ISTE, 2008) I have taken some initial steps to lay a framework for the achieving of my goal. I have assumed the technology lead role amongst my staff and work to assist teachers with technology integration, learning resources, and technology support. In being able to assist our teachers directly I am able to effectively model technology hands-on and demonstrate its effectiveness with students in the classroom. For some of our teachers technology use is still an area of development, consequently being able to offer guided assistance goes a long way in reducing anxiety levels and encouraging integration. Additionally I am a member of a couple professional learning communities which offer me a medium to gather technology resources and leadership information which can aid me in providing meaningful leadership to those around me during staff meetings and upcoming professional development sessions.
In working to ensure the efficiency of my actions and guarantee that my instruction is working to effectively maximize instructional time some additional information needs to be garnered. In looking to address individual learning needs and customize instruction to the strengths and weaknesses of students, information can be gathered from a variety of different sources:
· CUM files, Individual Program Plans (IPPs), and special education folders can assist teachers in offering a formal school-based snapshot of previous achievement as well as records of formal learning intervention and any diagnostic learning results. This testing information can assist teachers in readily identifying potential candidates for more active levels of curricular differentiation.
· Conversations with previous year’s teachers can elicit professional observations and anecdotal comments about former students’ perceived areas of strength and weakness, and perhaps previously utilized instructional strategies which generated success with individual students when encountering possible learning barriers. This information can assist in lesson planning and differentiation of instruction as teachers will be able to target those instructional strategies which provided the highest levels of student success.
· An additional source of valuable information is students’ parents. Through the use of “getting to know your child” surveys I have this year been able to talk to parents about their individual children and get a better understanding of how they tick, and what makes them unique from their parents’ perspective. In reading the surveys parents’ responses have been able to highlight areas of personal interest and strength amongst students, as well as identifying areas which they feel there is room for improvement or areas where they’d like to see enrichment provided.
· Lastly surveying the students themselves will give you possibly the best source of instructional information. Through the use of student surveys students can work to identify subject areas which they personally perceive as being strong or weak; they can highlight instructional strategies which they find effective (and more importantly also those that fail to engage them); they can make note of their technological proficiency levels and resources they are familiar with (great means of staying abreast of the latest technologies and web resources); and they can single out areas of personal interest outside school which can be integrated into instruction as hooks upon which to heighten personal engagement.
Actions thus far…
September is always a busy month for teachers with planning and organizing student instruction being at the top of the instructional to-do-list. In terms of personal professional development and my identified goals I have taken some noted steps towards achieving my goals. I have actively worked to incorporate elements of technology-based instruction into all subject areas and will continue to increase these levels as students gain proficiency. I have also completed both student and parent surveys in the interest of identifying student learning preferences and areas of learning strength and/or weakness. Additionally I have assumed a leadership position as technology lead within my school and actively work to facilitate technology integration amongst fellow colleagues. I also continue to pursue my Masters degree in technology integration and consistently work to incorporate new information and resources into my practice in an effort to provide the best possible instruction.
Cennamo, K., Ross, J. & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology integration for meaningful classroom use: A standards-based approach. (Laureate Education, Inc., Custom ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.
International Society for Technology Education. (2008) National Education Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T). Retrieved from http://www.iste.org/Libraries/PDFs/NETS_for_Teachers_2008_EN.sflb.ashx