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  • 1. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING ITIL Implementation Guide Table of Contents Session One: Lesson Planning…………………………………………………………….Page 2 Session Two: Technology Planning………………………………………………………Page 8 Session Three: Performance Guides, Instructional, and Assessment Materials…...Page 11 Session Four: Unit Practice Journal……………………………………………………….Page 15 Session Five: Annotating Examples of Student Work…………………………………Page 17 Session Six: Creating & Publishing an Implementation Portfolio…………….……Page 20 Appendices: Tip Sheet: Contingency Planning………………………………………..Page 25 Tip Sheet: Assessing Students’ Technology Skills…………………..Page 29 Tip Sheet: Inventory of Technology Available in My School………..Page 31 Tip Sheet: Survey of Students’ Technology Use……………………...Page 33 Spring 2005 © WIDEWorld/Lisa Breit (All rights reserved.)
  • 2. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Implementation Guide for Session One: Lesson Planning Every teacher has some experience creating lesson plans. The lesson you teach on any particular day may be part of a longer unit of study—organized around a chapter, a project, a set of materials or a theme, or may be a single, stand-alone activity. As you prepare to teach, you may be highly organized-- accustomed to writing out your plans in detail, loosely organized—working from a bunch of materials and notes you keep in a folder, or more extemporaneous--carrying the whole thing in your head. Whatever your style, when you go into the classroom you want to know where you will begin, how you will motivate and focus students’ learning, what students will do, what materials you will need and what you hope to accomplish. As you know from designing curriculum with the TfU framework, teaching for understanding involves organizing and orchestrating learning around a generative topic that involves students in constructing their own understanding. Activities (called performances of understanding) often involve teamwork, and are carefully designed and sequenced to help students in this construction. Assessment is ongoing, explicit, and the responsibility of peers and the learner in addition to the teacher. Keeping the focus on students’ understanding is challenging. With technology in the mix, and it is easy to see how important it is to think through a fairly clear set of lesson plans before heading into the classroom to teach for understanding. This is particularly critical if you are committed to reviewing evidence of students’ understanding and reflecting on the effectiveness of your teaching. One of your assignments for Session One is to create a series of lesson plan for the segment of a curriculum unit that you will teach with technology. Once you have developed your lesson plans, you will upload them to the CCDT you set up for this course. How do we define a “lesson?” Is a lesson about time--simply a single class period of instruction? Or is a lesson an activity or set of activities around a group of ideas and skills? For our purposes, when we say “lesson,” we mean the latter. A lesson involves the teaching of one or more ideas and skills in the process of “ramping students up” towards understanding of a generative topic. One lesson may take anywhere from part of a single class period to several class periods. The segment of your curriculum unit that you teach during the ITIL course may involve one or more lessons, but whatever segment you choose should not involve more than five days of instruction. The following pages contain are three resources to help you do develop your lesson plans. 1. A series of lesson planning questions. You do not need to answer these questions in writing unless you find it helpful to do so. Rather, they are intended to help you think, plan and gather information before you develop your plans. 2. An annotated example of the Lesson Planning Template from the Precious Water Sample Unit. This is to help you envision how you might fill out your own template. 3. Lesson Planning Template: This template is an “at a glance” way to organize your lesson plans. If you choose, you may simply fill in this table in order to generate your lesson plans. If you are accustomed to using a different lesson plan tool or format that contains the same information, you may use that instead. Just make sure it is in an electronic format (e.g., Word document or scan of a hand-written document) so you can upload it to the CCDT. Page 2
  • 3. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Lesson Planning Questions 1. Define the piece of practice Name of unit: SLOPE Segment you will plan and teach: UNDERSTANDING THE MEANING OF SLOPE How many individual lessons need to be part of this unit segment? 3 List the lessons and their starting and ending dates: Lesson Description Start Date End Date # class periods LEARN MEANING OF SLOPE AND 1 HOW TO FIND SLOPE USING SLOPE TO ANALYZE REAL 11 1 WORLD PROBLEMS COMPUTER LAB EXPLORATION 1 OF SLOPW EXAM ON SLOPE 1 2. How will people participate in these lessons? Will students work individually or in groups for this lesson? How do you plan to assign students to groups? What roles will students be expected to play in their groups? FIRST TWO LESSONS STUDENTS WORK IN GROUPS. LAST TWO LESSON STUDENTS WORK INDIVIDUALLY. Will anyone besides you and your students be involved in this lesson? (e.g., visitors, parents, guest experts, technology teacher, teaching team, aides, specialists, etc.). NO If so, what arrangements must be made? Collaborators for This Lesson Who Role/function To arrange… 3. What technologies be used in these lessons?NOTE THESE ARE POSSIBLE TECHNOLOGIES- ALL WILL NOT BE USED. TI 83 GRAPHING CALCULATOR, TI IDEA BOOKS, JASON FOUNDATION DISC, COMPUTOR LAB, MATH SLOPE GAME SITE WWW.SHODOR.ORG 4. What materials will you need for these lessons? What handouts, step-by-step guides, packets, readings, or other materials will be used for this lesson? For using technology, what kinds of tutorials or step-by-step instructions will be necessary to keep students on task? PROBLEM HANDOUTS, TEST HANDOUT, TI 83 POSTER, GRAPHING CALCULATOR, TAPE MEASURES, PROTRACTORS, COLORED CHALK, COMPUTER LAB, WRITTEN RUBRICS, DIGITAL CAMERA, COMPUTER PRINTER, PHOTOCOPIER. Page 3
  • 5. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Annotated Example of the Lesson Planning Template The example below is from the Precious Water sample unit. Note how each column is used: Spring 2005 © WIDEWorld/Lisa Breit (All rights reserved.)
  • 6. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Blank Lesson Planning Template • To use this template: • • Copy and paste it the template a Word document. (Note: you will need to set up your Word page in the horizontal “landscape” view.) • To add information, just click in each cell to type. • Refer to the menu for “tables” in Word, to add columns or rows if there is information you would find it useful to include that you do not see in the template. Lesson Day Tasks Time Homework Technology Materials To Do 1 1 HOMEWORK • OVERHEAD • COLORED CHALK • BRING TO CLASS • INTRO TO WEEKS 10 IS • CALCULATOR • OVERHEAD CHALK LESSON NOT MARKERS • CALCULATOR • EXPLAIN GRADING 10 ASSIGNED IN • OVERHEAD • HANDOUTS RUBRIC THIS CLASS, TRANSPARENCY • OVERHEAD • INTRO TO WHAT 20 PER • HANDOUTS MARKERS AND SLOPE IS CURRICULU • CHALKBOARD TRANSPARENCY • EXAMPLES OF 15 M DESIGN. RULER • RULERS AND SLOPE SHOWN • CHALKBOARD PROTRACTORS • STUDENT 10 PROTRACTOR • GRAPH PAPER PRACTICE WITH • RULERS AND • GRADING SLOPE PROTRACTORS RUBRIC • GRAPH PAPER Page 6
  • 9. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Implementation Guide for Session Two: Technology Implementation Planning 1. Organizing Instructional Technology In your lesson plan, you listed all the technology that you plan to use for the segment of the unit you will teach. The questions below are intended to help you think through your plans for organizing technology resources for the segment of the unit you will teach. Note: You do not need to answer every question. However, make sure you address each of the topics in your technology plan. As with the Lesson Planning Template, you can copy and paste the questions and tables below into a Word document to create your technology implementation plan. Topic: Technology Available for This Lesson How will technology be used? You might wish to review the technology rationale in your unit design. What do you need to prepare to use technology? If you are not sure what is available in your school, you might begin by creating an inventory for yourself. Optional: If you would like to inventory the technology available in your school, see Tip Sheet: Inventory of Technology Available in My School in the Appendix. Next, think about whether you need to schedule a lab ahead, install new software, create a web page or hotlist, borrow and set up equipment in your classroom, obtain permissions or releases, purchase batteries, blank CDs or a spare bulb, find an extension cord, etc. What, if anything, will you need to do to ensure safe and responsible use of technology? (Think about the topics in the CyberCitizenship WebQuest-- copyright issues, release forms, lab and classroom rules, student safety online, etc.) Technology Available for this Lesson Technology Used Where Needed When Availability Arrangements to Make OVERHEAD CLASSROOM ALWAYS PROJECTOR TI 83 CLASSROOM, 99% OF THE TIME SEE DEPT. HEAD FOR CALCULATORS COMPUTER CALCULATORS, SEE & LAB & IN LIBRARY FOR THE CAMERA VARIOUS CAMERA PARTS OF THE COMP. LAB IS SCHOOL PRESCHEDULED FLOPPY DISCS COMPUTER ALWAYS LAB Topic: File Sharing and Management How will you transfer and manage the digital files generated in this unit? Where will students store their files? (e.g., On a school or district server? SCHOOL SERVER AND TEACHER FLOPPY DISCS A classroom computer? Floppy disk or CD-R? Will students need to access their digital files from home? NO How will students share work that is in digital format? How will you and other students review work that is in digital format? Do you anticipate any challenges around format compatibility? NO (e.g., software versions, documents created in one software package that can’t be read by those who don’t have the same software…) How can you circumvent compatibility problems? What backup practices will you reinforce with students to ensure that they do not lose their work? (e.g., backing up files kept on a server onto a floppy or CD-R, printing out key documents, keeping bookmarks on or another third party server that can be accessed away from school, etc.) STUDENTS ARE CONSTANTLY TOLD TO DO REGULAR SAVES EVERY 5 MINUTES (APPROX.) AND TO BACK UP ONTO A FLOPPY DISC. Page 9
  • 11. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Topic: Supplies Related to Technology What technology-related supplies will you need for this lesson? (Think about things like batteries, extension cords, Ethernet cables, hubs, ink cartridges, printer paper, projector spare bulb, microphone, headphone, tripod, memory card, CD-R, floppy disks, blank DV or videotapes, etc.) Tech Supplies for this Lesson Supply Type/Model Quantity Needed When • OVERHEAD MARKERS ANY TYPE IS 4 • OVERHEAD TRANSPARENCY FINE FOR ALL 12 • FLOPPY DISCS THREE ITEMS. 28 Topic Contingency Planning Imagine that the technology you plan to use might not function as expected. Jot down an alternative activity that will allow you and your students to continue to work productively. IF THE COMPUTERS ARE NOT AVAILABLE, JASON DISC HAS NOT BEEN LOADED, OR THE WEBSITES NEEDED CAN NOT BE ACCESSED THEN FIELD BASED SCHOOL MEASURING CAN BE EMPLOYED. Optional: If you would like to learn more about contingency planning, see Tip Sheet: Contingency Planning in the Appendix. Topic Assessing Technology Readiness Do you think that you have sufficient experience using this technology to teach confidently with it? If not, what will you need to learn in order to prepare? Where will you get help? How will you determine whether students already have the necessary skills to use this technology efficiently for this lesson? Optional: If you would like to learn more about how to assess students’ technology access and technology skills, see Tip Sheet: Assessing Students’ Technology Skills and Tip Sheet: Survey of Students’ Technology Use in the Appendix. If students do not have the necessary technology skills, when and how will they learn to use the technology? Will students be trained prior to the lesson, or as part of the lesson? Will you provide the training? Will students teach each other? Will you need help from a technology specialist? Student Technology Training for this Lesson Tech Skill Needed for Trained when Trained how By whom? Topic: Classroom Rules for Safe and Responsible Use of Technology Having clear rules regarding the safe and appropriate use of technology is one factor in building a supportive, collaborative learning environment in which all students can learn. What are your classroom rules to ensure that students stay on task? Use proper citation? Care for equipment? Use legal software? Engage in Internet and email safety practices? Post only appropriate materials? Practice “netiquette?” Are you familiar with your school’s policies? How will you inform students of your classroom rules and behavioral expectations for use of technology (particularly email and other interactive Internet applications)? If your unit involves posting students’ work or images of students online, do you have the necessary permissions and releases on file? How will you handle unit activities for those students from whom you do not have releases? Page 11
  • 12. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING How will you enforce classroom rules? What consequences will result if students violate the rules and misuse technology in school? You might want to check with school administrators about disciplinary policies. 2. Below is an excerpt from the technology plan for the Precious Water sample unit: Excerpt from Technology Plan for Precious Water Sample Unit How technology will be used: The WebQuest helps to organize, sequence, and scaffold resources and tasks for students as they investigate water resource issues. The use of Web sites from real water resource, news, environmental and scientific organizations supports the authenticity of the scenarios students are exploring, while other sites provide up-to-date contextual information and personal interest perspectives. WebQuest helps to keep students on task and reduce the likelihood that students will “wander” aimlessly on the Internet while working. Students use PowerPoint to develop and deliver their Precious Water Presentations. PowerPoint supports students' understanding by allowing them to use a variety of media (i.e., sound, video, images, text, animation, hypertext, etc.) to explain their ideas. PowerPoint's capacity for either linear or web-like organization of slides potentially can support students' intellectual connections. PowerPoint helps students build arguments because it must be sequenced to tell a story in a presentation. Arrangements to make: Technology Used Where Needed When Availability Arrangements to Make Webquest Computer Lab Days 7-9 WQ files are done Mount WQ on server PowerPoint Lab, Classroom Days 7-11 In lab, not in classrm Get PPT installed in classrm LCD Projector Classroom Days 1-4, 6-11 Tech center Sign up for those dates Speakers Classroom Days 6-11 Ms. Jones has them Borrow for the week File management: Students can use school email accounts to mail themselves any notes, URLs, images, or resources they identify while completing the WebQuest, or they can upload a document with these resources to their work folders on the school server. Students wlll work on PowerPoint presentations in the computer lab and can save their work in their folders on the server. Students will be asked to burn their final PowerPoint presentations on a CD-R in the school library, computer lab or classroom computer to hand in with their unit portfolios for assessment. Tech Supplies for this Lesson Supply Type/Model Quantity Needed When Extension cord 25 ft. 1 Days 7-11 Spare bulb for projector Epson X240 1 Make sure school has one Screen Standing 1 Days 1-4, 6-11 Page 12
  • 13. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Implementation Guide for Session Three: Developing Performance Guides, Instructional, and Assessment Materials 1. Preparing an assessment guide for this unit About Rubrics Most educators are familiar with the idea of assessment rubrics, although few use them. Briefly, a rubric is a guideline for making expectations explicit and public, evaluating learners’ work and giving feedback. It usually is formatted as a matrix, with performances listed along one axis and criteria listed across the other axis. You may already have developed one or more rubrics for particular performances and assessments in your unit. If you have not developed a rubric, perhaps you are using a checklist of the requirements students must fulfill for particular activities and assignments. For ITIL, we will practice combining the various assessments you are using for the segment of the unit you will teach in a single assessment rubric. Developing a unit rubric can: • Help you clarify your criteria for all ongoing assessment in specific terms • Provide benchmarks against which to measure and document the class’s progress in the unit overall • Provide useful feedback for you regarding the effectiveness of the unit as instruction is going on, rather than just at the end. • Increase students’ responsibility for their work by making criteria public and readily available • Keep unit understanding goals visible by reinforcing how each discreet activity relates to the whole unit • Allow assessment to be more objective and consistent • Clearly show students how their work will be evaluated and what is expected • Inform students of the criteria to use in assessing their own and their peers’ performance Tools for Building Rubrics There are many models of rubrics available on the WWW. You can also find templates with criteria for certain types of learning activities, such as science fair projects or oral presentations. While they vary in quality and specificity, examining a few can serve as a good starting point for building one for your unit. Kathy Schrock’s Guide: Assessment and Rubrics Teachervision Rubrics Page There are also tools online to help design and build rubrics. These tool help you to build a rubric that you can store and edit online, or print. If you choose, you may use one of these online tools to help you create your unit rubric. Be sure to download the rubric to include in your portfolio, or provide a link to it if necessary. Rubistar Rubric Builder Page 13
  • 14. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Rubric Example Here is the rubric from the Implementation Portfolio for the sample unit, Precious Water. Note that each performance of understanding has a point value and criteria. Note also that the rubric has three parts: a) students’ research and synthesis using the Water Fights WebQuest; b) class participation and teamwork; and c) an oral presentation using PowerPoint. For parts a and b, specific standards are described that characterize poor, adequate and outstanding work. Part c uses a simple checklist format. Page 14
  • 15. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING 2. Creating Your Rubric When you are building your own rubric, it is helpful to use either a spreadsheet or the table tool in your word processing software to structure your matrix. The following steps may be helpful: a. List Performances: The lefthand column of a rubric usually has a list of the performances of understanding and assessments for the unit. These are easily copied and pasted from the Summary View of your unit design in the CCDT. You may not choose to list every detailed performance of understanding. Rather, choose those that represent key benchmarks towards understanding, including those that you know you will use as key assessments. In the Precious Water rubric example, the performances are: Water Fights WebQuest Precious Water Presentations Participation and Community b. Define Criteria and indicators: Below each performance, you might include a description of the criteria for the performance (one per row). Some teachers like to provide specific, concrete examples of what an exemplary performance looks like. In the Precious water rubric example, under Water Fights WebQuest, the criteria are: Activity 4: Water Fights (20 points) Understanding scenario (5 pts) Context of scenario (5 pts) Conservation strategies (5 pts) Safe and appropriate use of online resources (5 pts) c. Specify Standards: Across each row, indicate how well the criteria must be met for the performance to be considered “exemplary,” “acceptable,” and “not acceptable.” (Note, you should carefully choose whatever standards levels and language works best for your unit and your classroom culture). In the Precious Water rubric example, for the criterion “Understanding Scenario,” the standards are: Poor Satisfactory Excellent Team incorrectly identifies Team identifies some of the Team identifies parties, parties, issues, and conflicting parties, issues and conflicting issues, and conflicting interests in scenario interests correctly in scenario interests correctly in scenario d. Assign a Scale: You may wish to assign points to each performance/assessment. The number of points you assign signals to students which performances are most important to you, offers room for discretion in scoring, and helps you calculate a grade at the end of the unit. e. Leave Room to Summarize: You may want to use one or two columns at the righthand end of the rubric to write comments. Some teachers also include columns for peer assessment and self-assessment in addition to teacher assessment. You can see such columns in the example rubric. Page 15
  • 16. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING 3. Preparing other materials you will need for this unit Looking back through your lesson plans, note where you listed materials you will need to prepare for each lesson. If it helps you, you may want to list the materials you still need to develop below. Think about teacher materials--those you will use to introduce concepts or skills, explain or demonstrate, as well as student materials and performance guides that will scaffold students’ work. Be sure to include administrative materials, such as permission and release forms if they will be used in your unit. Once you have your list, you will need to develop the materials for your portfolio. Materials for this Unit Material Lesson T/S/A To prepare… By when Page 16
  • 17. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Implementation Guide for Session Four: Keeping a Unit Practice Journal If we hope to learn from everyday practice, reflective writing is an important discipline. Jotting down our observations and thoughts, even briefly, provides important data for professional growth. For one thing, it help us remember what we need to correct or improve. Over time, a journal helps us to cultivate a scholarly and reflective stance--to step back from our work and view it objectively. Keeping a practice journal helps us to: • Identify and analyze rich evidence from the classroom; • Reflect on specific evidence to see patterns and tease out meaning; • Draw conclusions based on the evidence, • Evaluate in order to determine the value of our insights, • Share our learning, in order to solicit and provide constructive comment about each other's work, • Make changes to improve student learning. Example of a Practice Journal The example below is an excerpt from a practice journal for the sample unit, Precious Water: Excerpts from Teacher’s Practice Journal Precious Water sample unit Progress towards understanding goals: The WebQuest and PowerPoint/Oral presentations exercise worked better than I expected. Teams successfully got into their role perspectives. Five of the 12 teams were able to assume the perspective of other parties fairly well—their arguments were more subtle and recognized, for example, that all people or organizations that produce pollutants are not villains and that they also have legitimate interests in using natural resources to provide a service or product that people need or want, that compromise is necessary, the role of government, the persuasions of politics, etc. They were the teams that were most realistic in devising conservation and “clean” strategies. The three teams who made sure to consult with the other teams about their research did the best job of this analysis. Technology benefits: The parameters of the PowerPoint presentation and the time limit for the oral presentation made students focus and negotiate which points were most salient. PowerPoint also helped students to sequence their points to tell a story. Sasha, Bill and Rasheed’s team embedded a link to an online movie about the health and environmental benefits of sustainable small-scale farming. It was an appropriate resource—very informative—but I wonder if by pointing to the resource, they missed out on actually having to mull over the water conservation potential of sustainable farming. Have to think about this more. 21st Century Skills: In order to do this assignment, students had to be able to approach a subject they knew little about, extract the most important information, stake out the “territory” of the issues, define a position, consider other perspectives, then decide what it was most important to present and communicate it clearly and succinctly both in slides and orally. In the process, they needed to negotiate each of these steps with each other. And, they needed to use fairly sophisticated tools (Internet, PowerPoint…). This was a complex project to complete in just five days. Some groups were better organized than others. I think I will need to provide a structured note-taking worksheet to go along with the WebQuest next time. Materials: Some of the reading and web sites I chose were over the heads of some of the students who are not accustomed to reading technical and policy information. I want students to be challenged and to use authentic materials, but probably need to do more to prepare them. I think earlier in the school year, I can introduce short technical and policy readings about science related to other units and topics we are studying —maybe to go over in class together or assign them for homework—and news items. Practice Journal Template: You may use the guide below as a worksheet for your practice journal, or you may wish to adapt it to capture additional information and reflections that you consider important. As always, you may copy and paste the template into a Word document. Page 17
  • 18. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Practice Journal Template One entry for each lesson. Lesson: As you teach each lesson, note the following: Understanding: Are students able to work through the planned performances? Does the work students do move them towards the unit understanding goals successfully? What do you take as evidence of understanding? Motivation? Engagement? What is working? What isn’t working? What adjustments, if any, have you needed to make? Pedagogy: How well are the design, materials, and direct instruction you planned for this unit working? Do students understand what they were asked to do? Do the lessons run smoothly? Note specific examples of those elements to which students are most and least responsive. Technology integration: What is working well? What is not working well? How is technology supporting understanding? What adjustments, if any, have you needed you need to make? Classroom Community: Are students’ interactions meeting your expectations for collaboration? What is working well? What isn’t working? What changes, if any, have you had to make in order to strengthen collaboration and reflection? Additional comments: Page 18
  • 19. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Implementation Guide for Session Five: Annotating Examples of Student Work Even if criteria for performances and assessments are clear and explicit, a teacher still may have tacit expectations about what abilities students ought to have, what the standard for quality is, and the way that students should be thinking as they go about completing assignments. Student assessment usually involves putting a letter grade and a few comments on a worksheet, homework or paper. If you think about it, this provides relatively little information to guide or support students on future tasks or projects. The process of looking at student work can help to reveal students’ thinking, misconceptions, errors, and unique ways of understanding. And, particularly if you reflect on the work with colleagues, it can reveal expectations of which you are not completely aware, and help you take a closer look at how you teach. How to Develop Your Annotated Examples For Session Five, your assignment is to select two examples of student performances of understanding or assessments from the segment of the unit you have just taught. One example should represent what you consider to be highly developed work, and one should represent work that you believe missed the mark or requires further development. For each example of student work, you will prepare and upload three documents: 1. An assessment rubric. Fill in the rubric you have developed for each example of student work. 2. The work example itself. (See the Tech Tips section below for help getting the work into digital format). 3. A reflection document. The reflection document should include a paragraph or two explaining what you were thinking as you applied the criteria for assessment. Be sure cite the evidence to which you are referring in the examples of students’ work. You may use a quote, or cut and paste a section of student work to insert in your explanation. Look for patterns in the evidence that provide clues to how and what the student understood. Be sure to reflect on the student’s work in relation to the unit’s understanding goals. Indicate, for each example, how well you think the work has met ISTE student technology performance indicators for the appropriate grade level. Also include a paragraph or two to reflect on the meaning of these assessments for your teaching. There is no “right way” to reflect on your assessment. Below are some questions to stimulate your thinking. You are not obliged to answer them all. The idea is to think about what you can learn about your teaching from what you see in these students’ work. • What did you see in this student's work that was interesting or surprising? • Did the work end up as you expected or hoped it would? • Notice what you count as evidence of understanding. • Where do you see (or not see) evidence that you are conveying what is most important to students? • What do you notice about your judgments or frames of reference when you look at student work? • Compare what you see and what you think about the student work with what tried to do in the classroom. • What questions about teaching and assessment did looking at this student's work raise for you? • What are three things you would like to try in your classroom as a result of looking at the student's work? • Here is an excerpt from the reflection document for the culminating performance by students “Rasheed, Sasha and Bill” (also see the see work sample and rubric for their project) Page 19
  • 20. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Excerpt from student assessment reflection document for the Precious Water sample unit Reflections on the culminating performance by Rasheed, Sasha and Bill (not their real names) Three things stood out for me about this team’s project: Teamwork: When I put Sasha, Bill and Rasheed in one team for this culminating performance, it was a bit of a risk. They do not appear to be socially connected in class. Rasheed is not that motivated in science, but is an outdoorsman and active in the student government, so I thought he might be interested in the environmental focus of the unit. Bill is a strong science student, but needs to work on his writing and tends to be somewhat disorganized. Sasha is rather quiet, but I was hoping her strong research and organizational skills would contribute an important focus and precision to the team. All three had used Powerpoint before. I was pleased that Sasha ended up taking such a strong lead with this team during the WebQuest and small group work, even though she froze up a bit during the presentation. Rasheed performed better than he usually does in science class— he contributed the funny slides and the work on sustainable agriculture. He wrote in his reflection that he was not as intrigued by the water issues as he was by the animal rights aspect of hog farming. When the group met with me for their check-in while working on the WebQuest, Bill and Sasha convinced him that animal rights issues did not belong in a presentation about water. I was surprised that Bill coasted a bit on the culminating performance. His strengths came out more in the early part of the unit when we worked with statistics and did the water labs. Overall, I believe each member of this group was more engaged and learned more working in a team than they would have individually. Understanding Goals: I thought I’d look back at the goals and see if I thought this team’s culminating performance shows evidence of meeting them. UG1: Students will appreciate the extent to which water is vital to sustaining life for all organisms and the environment of earth. Team addressed this by emphasizing that hog farmers need clean water to raise healthy hogs, and so have an interest in preventing pollution. Also demonstrated understanding by presenting perspectives of consumers, producers and government. UG2: Students will appreciate that water is a finite natural resource, and will understand how the water cycle works. Good incorporation of water cycle in presentation about water quality threats by CAFOs (groundwater, runoff, diversion, etc.) UG3: Students will understand their personal roles in using and protecting the natural resource of water. I was concerned that this would be rather abstract, since none of these students farms hogs! But they did a great job connecting the water issues to actions that they as citizens (advocacy) and consumers (buy organic) could take. One weakness of this presentation was that they did not clearly state the position that would be taken organization they were supporting in the role play. Nor did they position the organization as a kind of “honest broker.” UG4: Students will appreciate how scientists work collaboratively to build knowledge and solve problems related to water. This is one of three teams who consulted with the other teams while preparing. This is what made them decide to add the public policy perspective to their action strategies. UG5: Students will learn how to organize and present scientific ideas and evidence in order to promote water conservation. Except for not taking a position, the argument against factory farming was convincing. Technology: This team did a good job using technology, and convinced me that there are things students learn from working with technology that might be difficult without it.. Thanks to Sasha’s influence, Bill and Rasheed mostly stayed on task during the WebQuest (except when Rasheed got off on an animal rights tangent…). What surprised me was how efficiently they made their way through the materials, and that they went beyond the resources on my hotlist to find even better stuff. They found a wonderful online animated movie about sustainable farming and created a link, which, along with the images and hyperlinks they included, makes good use of PowerPoint’s multimedia capability. They could have done a better job with citations—I’m not certain all those images were in the public domain! I noticed that they made an outline together, each made several slides, then decided how to sequence them using the slide sorter view. Then they went back and filled in some of the missing information with additional slides. Very good! Sasha got into designing the slideshow to look nice. Each of them rehearsed presenting, and they coached each other. They had bullets on the slides, but talked from their notes. Page 20
  • 21. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Tech Tips: Converting Work to Digital Format In order to make student work visible to your coach and learning partner, you will need to make sure your examples of student work are in a digital format. It is possible to upload photos, PowerPoints, digital video, digital sound files, or documents. You have several options for getting your examples of student work ready to upload. Option 1. Have students produce the work using software. If your unit calls for students to produce their work on the computer (e.g., a graphic organizer using Inspiration, a PowerPoint presentation, a document in Word, a view in Geometer’s Sketchpad, a spreadsheet, etc), all you need to do is upload the file. This is the easiest option. Option 2: Make a PDF file. If you like, you can convert your document or file as a PDF if you have access to Adobe Acrobat software. Some versions of Microsoft Word allow you to convert documents to pdf in the print screen. Choose “Print” from your file menu and look for a button that says “save as PDF.” For those of you who feel more confident with new technology, another way to create a PDF is to use a free online tool such as PDFOnline. Option 3: Scan your example. For this option, you will need to locate a scanner at your school, or take your document to a commercial copy center that has a scanner. The scanner works a lot like a copy machine, except instead of producing a paper copy, the scanner creates a digital image file of your document (e.g., a jpg or tiff tile) Option 4: Photograph your example. If you don’t have access to Acrobat or a scanner, you can use a digital camera and photograph your document. This is not always the best option for documents, for sometimes it can be hard to take a photo close enough to see what students have written. However, this is a good option if the work students produce for your unit is a poster, a three dimensional structure, or a performance. If there is NO WAY to get the work in digital format, you will need to describe it in some detail instead. Be sure to consult your coach about this. Important Note: Whenever sharing student work in a public forum, take care to remove identifying information and use initials or a pseudonym to protect students’ confidentiality, identity, etc. Naming files Make sure to give your files a clear filename. Here are some suggested formats: For each student work example: <yourlastname_example1.doc> or <yourlastname_ex1_photo1.jpg> For each rubric: <example1_rubric.doc> For your reflection: <yourlastname_assessment_reflection.doc> To upload your documents: Using the “file list” tool in the top menu bar of the CCDT, upload each example of student work, along with its completed assessment rubric and your reflection document. Page 21
  • 22. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Implementation Guide for Session Six: Creating an Implementation Portfolio You already have completed most of the components of an Implementation Portfolio for your unit. Now in Session Six, you will put all those resources together and prepare them for use by a broader audience. There are several ways you can “publish” your portfolio. For our purposes in the ITIL course, you will use the CCDT as the platform for your work. As you learned all along in this course the CCDT has tools to help organize your files, create links to resources, and capture dialog (through the message board). In this session, we will prepare to publish your portfolio by adding a written welcome document and directory for visitors explaining what they will find and how they can use the resources therein. Those of you who have a classroom web site (or would prefer to organize your portfolio as a web page) should feel free to put your portfolio together that way. Just export your unit design as a Word, PDF, or HTML file using the “export” feature in the CCDT, download all your work from each session, and go for it! Of course, a web page(s) is only accessible if it is uploaded to a web server. It will be up to you to get the web page(s) mounted by the end of the course so that your learning partner and coach can access it. Just make sure you post a URL for your portfolio in the CCDT so we know how to find your work. Before we begin, you may wish to take another look at the implementation portfolio for the Precious Water sample unit to see how everything fits together. Sharing Your Work Through Your Implementation Portfolio: Five Steps 1. Review your documents. Your finished portfolio should incorporate the following items, which you already have produced: 1. Summary of your Unit or Unit Segment (posted in WIDE discussion board during Session One) 2. Unit Design (created in the TSNT course and reviewed/revised during ITIL) 3. Lesson plans (created during Session One) 4. Technology plan (created during Session Two) 5. Assessment rubric for your unit (created during Session Three) 6. Instructional materials (created during Session Three) 7. Practice journal entries (created during Sessions Four and Five) 8. Examples of student work, rubrics for student work and reflection document (Created in Session Five) As you look over your work, remember that you have produced it as a member of a community of practice that shares a common language and similar goals. Think about how you can edit or rephrase your ideas so that they are accessible to both outsiders and insiders. It is a good idea to review these documents to make sure they are “presentable” –spell check and proof them, and edit them for grammar, etc., so that they represent well the diligent, reflective work you have done on your unit. 2. Create a Welcome / Introduction for visitors and a Table of Contents Introduction Visitors to your published portfolio will benefit from a little background or guidance in order to understand fully what is available in your portfolio. To prepare your portfolio for publication, draft a short (a page or less) introduction, in plain language, of what visitors will find. Tell your visitors who you are, what you were hoping to accomplish through this unit design, and how technology plays a role in helping students learn in this context. You may wish to use or revise the unit (or segment) summary (Item 1 above) you posted on the ITIL WIDE discussion board in Session One. Perhaps you would like to share a brief quote or anecdote about your students’ response to the unit, or how you hope to improve or alter the unit it the future. Make sure you address your introduction to the audience(s) who might benefit from reading your design. If you want it to be a resource for other educators, primarily, you might want to include some practical information about how the unit could be adapted for different grade levels or be taught with different technology resources. If you want this to be a doorway for students into the resources for the unit, you might describe how students should use the portfolio. Similarly, you might craft a message for parents. Or, you could have paragraphs addressed to each of several audiences. This example is the introduction for the implementation portfolio for the Precious Water sample unit. Welcome to my Precious Water unit! I developed this unit using the Teaching for Understanding with New Technologies framework, an approach to curriculum design and instruction developed by Page 22
  • 23. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING researchers and practitioners at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. I developed this portfolio to share the unit with other educators. It is intended to reveal the thinking behind the unit, as well as the materials, lesson plans, assessments and technology I used to teach it. I also have included excerpts from my teaching journal entries, where I reflect on the actual instruction of the unit, and students' responses to it, along with some samples of student work. Clearly, water is one of our most precious natural resources. It doesn't matter where we live, whether in America or another country, in a city or on a farm, we all need and use water to live every day. Population, geography, weather, development and politics affect the supply and healthfulness of water. Everyone understands intuitively that, unless we conserve, protect and share water resources, plants, animals and humans eventually will not have the water needed to live. People, homes, industries, wildlife, recreation, and transportation all rely on clean sources of water, and often, parties disagree about how water should be used, managed and distributed. This can cause conflicts, and, particularly in times or areas of scarcity, it is a challenge for communities to make decisions that are fair to everyone, while protecting the quality and supply of water on which we all depend. The Precious Water unit, designed for 9th-10th grade science, serves as a "case study" of a vital natural resource, and human beings' relationship to and responsibility for stewardship of that resource. Students use water every day, and so understand its forms and cycles in nature intuitively, if not scientifically. Studying key physical science ideas --the molecular and physical structure of water (states of matter) and the ecology of water (the water cycle) in the context of personal water use opens up rich questions that connect student' experiences to local as well as global social, economic, and human rights issues. Students complete much of the work in this unit working with a learning partner, or in a collaborative team. Learning activities are carefully organized to support independent work, and critical thinking about authentic, complex issue. Learning "performances" and assessments are intended to "ramp up" students' understanding of the underlying science of water and its connection to real-world dilemmas, community interests, and personal behaviors. Peers, and students themselves, engage in assessment and reflection about the work in addition to the teacher. Another important feature of Precious Water is the use of technology to support understanding. I have chosen with care technologies that can help make understanding goals and key concepts and information in this unit clearer for students, and can help students with different strengths as learners to find a way into the material. I have also chosen technology that builds students' workplace readiness, as described in the enGauge framework for 21st Century Literacies and that supports students' ability to learn independently and discerningly in an information-rich world. For a complete list of what is included in this unit, see the Table of Contents. I invite your comments and questions. Contact me at Thanks for visiting! Table of Contents List the parts of your portfolio with a short description of what each part represents. Here is the table of contents from the implementation portfolio for the Precious Water sample unit. You are welcome to explore the following components of this unit portfolio: Introduction Throughlines These are some of the overarching ideas and sensibilities I want students in my classes to absorb during their time studying with me. Generative Topic Water as a natural resource is a broad topic with many points of entry for study and investigation. It also connects to important ideas in science that, according to our state curriculum frameworks, students must master. Because everyone uses water in many ways, all students have a way of connecting with this topic. Understanding Goals These are the most important ideas, skills and connections I want students to engage through this unit of study. Page 23
  • 24. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Performances and Assessments A sequence of activities students will do, carefully designed to "ramp up" students' understanding so that they can apply what they have learned to a final project that involves critical thinking. Some of the activities also serve as evaluations of progress by teacher, self and peers. Technology Rationale This section describes technology carefully chosen and integrated to leverage understanding in this unit. Standards These standards for science, technology proficiency, and workplace skills all are addressed in this unit. Resources This section contains links to background reading, online resources, and the Water Fights WebQuest (which is used by students to prepare their final projects). Documents: Throughout the portfolio, there are links to documents for implementation of the Precious Water Unit. These include: Lesson Plans--detailed, day by day Examples of Student Work--these require PowerPoint to view The Assessment Rubric that was used to keep students on task and grade their work Teacher's Practice Journal--my notes and observations from the trenches To add your Introduction and Table of Contents to your Implementation Portfolio… In the CCDT, go to the Blank Pages section. Add a new page for each document (the introduction and table of contents). Make sure you title the documents so that visitors may identify them easily. Either type directly in the space provided, or copy and paste your text from a word processing document. Don’t forget to save! 3. Publish Publishing your design allows you to share all or parts of your design through the ENT web site. In the publishing process, you can make changes to your design content that will show up only in the published version (e.g., you may notice notes that you wrote to yourself during the design process that you wish to remove). Also, you will have an opportunity to reorder the elements of your design. For example, you may want your introduction and table of contents documents to appear first. Recognizing that curriculum is always a work-in-progress, this feature also allows you to update or "republish" a design if it changes significantly after you publish it to the community. Once all the components of your portfolio are edited, spiffed up, introduced, listed in the table of contents, spell-checked and ready to go, it’s time to publish! Follow the steps below (NOTE: These same instructions are also available in the WIDE Help screens.) Step 1. In the CCDT, select the design from your design list. Step 2. When you enter the design workspace, click on "publish," found under "export" in the navigation menu across the top of the page. You will arrive at a page that displays the name of your design. Click on the "begin" link to get started on the publishing process. Step 3. You will arrive at a page called "publish: select design items," which displays each design element, including uploaded Files, complete with the items in each. If you haven't added content to an element, you will see "this element contains no design items." If you Page 24
  • 25. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING haven't entered anything but a name for the item, you will see "this item has no content" in parentheses next to the item. To the left of each item, you should see a checkbox, already pre-filled with a checkmark. If you wish to exclude a particular item from appearing in the print preview, deselect it by clicking in the corresponding checkbox. Page 25
  • 26. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Step 4. Once you've finished choosing your design items, you'll notice the "select options" box at the bottom of the page. Here, you can choose the following options: ◦ Display design elements that contain no items - includes the titles of items that have no content ◦ Display item associations - includes a list of associations for each item that has other items or files associated with it. When you have finished your selections, click the "continue" button at the bottom of the page. Step 5. You will arrive at a page called "publish: select published design team." Here, you can choose the members of the design team whose names you'd like to display in the published version. For example, if you created a unit and added your entire department at school, but half of those folks didn't get a chance to provide feedback or contribute to the design, you may wish to remove their names. To include someone, be sure the box is checked next to their name, then click "continue": Step 6. You will advance to a page called "publish: enter name and description." Here, you'll see a text field where you can rename your unit if you wish, to give it a more descriptive title that will help the community understand at first glance what your unit is about. Below this field, you'll see a text box in which you can compose a brief description of the unit -- perhaps your generative topic or objectives, or an overview of what the unit will allow students and teachers to do. You'll have a chance to include details about context (ie. grade level and subject) on the following page. When you have finished describing your unit, click the "continue" button at the bottom of the page. Step 7. You will advance to a page called "publish: select categories." Here, you can click in the checkboxes to select the grade levels and subject matters for which your unit is intended. Please choose these carefully to help visitors locate those units that will be most useful to them. Page 26
  • 27. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Step 8. When you have finished making your selections, click "finish" at the bottom of the page. You will see the message "your design has been published," and a confirmation of your publication. You will also see a link to a popup window that shows how your published product looks online. After publishing your design, you can use the "back to published design list" link to see a list of your published designs. The newly published version will appear in the list. If you wish to make further changes, you can edit your published design from this screen. 4. Share Your Work First, remember to contact your coach and learning partner to let them know your design has been published. This is necessary for completing the requirements for Session Six. Your coach and partner will review your “culminating performance” using the ITIL rubric. Be sure to copy the link directly to your published page and paste it into your message so that they can access it easily. If your visitor is already registered with ENT / WIDE, s/he will be able to log in and access your published design. You coach and learning partner, for example, are registered with ENT/WIDE, and you can encourage other teaching colleagues to do so too. However, you may wish to make your design accessible for viewing by colleagues, students, supervisors or parents for whom it may not make sense to register. For ITIL participants, we have set up a visitor account to allow such access. In order to direct visitors to your published design, a. Provide this URL to visitors: This will take them to the Education with New Technologies login screen. b. When visitors see the login screen, instruct them to type in: Username: visitor Password: visitor A directory of all the published designs on the ENT web site should then appear. c. Make sure visitors know the name of your published design. Congratulations! Your Implementation Portfolio is complete! Page 27
  • 28. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Appendix Available Technology Inventory Worksheet Adapted from Planning into Practice, published by SIER•TEC ( As you go through this worksheet, remember that you might have access to technology that is not physically located in your classroom. Check with your librarian, school technology coordinator, and/or other teachers to find out if resources exist that you might borrow or share. Computers •Computers for teacher use (where and how many?) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Computers for student use (portables, AlphaSmarts, lab computers, classroom computers, etc.; where and how many?) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •File Storage (Floppy drives, CD-ROM burners, Network storage, External HD, etc.) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Presentation and output devices •Projection devices (e.g., scan converter for TV, LCD, video projector, large monitor) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •VCR, DVD or CD Player ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Printers ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Input Devices •Scanners ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Digital cameras ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Digital video cameras (note availability of batteries, tripod, microphone, cables, etc.) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Page 28
  • 29. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Assistive Technologies (note the requirements of students who may have special needs and available adaptive technologies) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Internet •Teacher access for WWW and email ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Student access for WWW and email ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Software and applications (Note: identify what is available for teacher, students, or both. It is particularly important to find out how many legal licenses are available for use.) •Basic productivity (word processor, spreadsheet, database) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Presentation manager (e.g., PowerPoint, Appleworks slideshow, iLife) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Organizers (e.g., Inspiration, Timeliner…) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Multimedia production (e.g., HyperStudio, Kidpix iMovie, Photoshop…) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Web development (FrontPage, Composer, Flash, etc.…) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Reference materials (e.g., multimedia encyclopedia such as Encarta) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Subject area—specific technology (Note that many applications are multidisciplinary.) •Math software applications ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Science software applications ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ • Page 29
  • 30. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Language arts software applications ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Social studies software applications ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Visual Arts (e.g., drawing, drafting, painting) software applications ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Music software applications ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Drill and practice software applications (spelling, math facts, vocabulary, test preparation, etc.) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Communications technology •World Wide Web/Internet Browser (Mozilla, Internet Explorer, Safari) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •E-mail client ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ •Internet-based videoconferencing ________________________________________________________________________________________________________ ____________________________________________________________ Page 30
  • 31. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Appendix Tip Sheet: Contingency Planning Being Prepared Avoids Many Problems… When teaching with technology that is new to you, many glitches are avoidable if you anticipate them and prepare accordingly. Some tips: • Try running through your demonstration or activity in advance to determine how confident you are with a new technology. If the technology you want to use is new to you, but is already being used by a colleague, ask to sit in on a class to observe. • Arrange for assistance ahead of time. Find out who can be “on call” for real time tech support. Make sure that person is familiar with your technology in advance. If your school does not have tech support personnel, enlist one or two students who are more proficient with technology as “experts for a day.” • When using the Internet, check to see if web sites you want students to use are still active and have not changed before actually teaching a lesson with them. • If your room is not set up with what you need, getting ready could eat up a lot of class time. Visit the lab or technology classroom you will be using in advance, and ask whether you will be able to have set-up time before the period in which you need to teach. • If a lab coordinator or technology specialist sets up for you, check the software and settings on each workstation. You could ask a tech-savvy student to help with this. • If you are using software or web sites with interactives or multimedia features, be sure that the control panels (e.g., for sound) are set properly and that your browsers have the necessary plug-ins. • If possible, get your own lab key, access password, or administrator account so that you can set up hardware, software and files the way you want them for your lessons. • If your school policy prohibits teachers from installing software or reconfiguring features, meet with the person who controls the lab or classroom you will use to let them know what your needs will be well in advance. If you plan to use special software or store student work on a lab computer over a period of time, be sure to request that it remain on the drive. And in case your files are accidentally removed, have students keep a backup their files and always have a software install CD on hand. • Be sure to check for the incidental supplies you need, such as extension cords, batteries and chargers (for cameras, handhelds, AlphaSmarts, etc.), probes, spare bulb and a screen (for projectors), CD-ROMs, floppies, cables, ink cartridges, printer paper, microphone, speakers, tripod, etc. …But Have a Backup Plan Anyway In spite of the most conscientious preparation, every educator who teaches with technology knows sometimes things go wrong. Software freezes. Files get “lost.” Computers can be incapacitated by viruses. Someone forgets to recharge a battery or to return a piece of equipment you reserved. It is reasonable to assume that at least once in your teaching career, software will fail or a network will go down at the worst possible time. Always have a back-up plan. If individuals or groups of students are working towards completing a number of tasks, there may be some flexibility with which to work. Switching gears might require little more than having alternative materials available for a research task in lieu of resources you expected to use online, or may involve changing the order of tasks, or preparing an entirely different substitute lesson that does not depend on technology. As most teachers quickly learn, many computer-based activities can switch to paper-and-pencil variants or to small-group activities. Could you, perhaps, substitute a discussion or work on citing sources? For activities that cannot be transferred to paper or group discussion, think of activities that will still meet your teaching goals for the day. So, for example, if you had planned a day of Internet searching, what alternatives could work? Besides printing out specific resources ahead of time to have on hand, you might consider saving images or entire web sites to the hard drive of your computer and project them for a whole-class activity. Or, you might consider burning these resources on a CD-ROM, then copying it to student’s workstations. Page 31
  • 32. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Appendix: Assessing Students’ Technology Readiness As you are planning to introduce a new technology in your classroom, it can be helpful to have some idea of your students’ level of technology proficiency. Of course, how detailed and precise a picture of your students’ skills is required depends on how you plan to use technology in your lesson or unit. Factors to Consider When Assessing Students’ Computer Skills: Access: Many students have computers at home, with or without Internet access, or have used them in school. A quick show of hands usually will provide this information. If your unit calls for students to complete project work outside of class time using a computer or other technology, you will need to ensure that students can access the necessary technology in school, or at a public library or other community computing center. Computer Basics: What basic technology skills will be necessary for the unit you plan to teach? Because all computer users must perform functions such as opening and saving files, working with documents, applications and windows, and printing in order to work efficiently, it is important to gauge students’ understanding of basic computer operations, technology vocabulary, and ability to manage software and files. If you are unsure of how much experience your students have with technology basics, your might check first with your library-media specialist, technology teacher or tech coordinator (if your school has them), who may already have information about which students need more support with computer basics and which students are proficient. If such information is not available, consider using a questionnaire. You may wish to use a free online tool such as Survey Monkey (http://, which will automatically compile your results, or an old fashioned survey on paper. Typing: Another factor to consider is how much typing students will need to do. Students who are expected to produce text- intensive documents, but do not have much practice typing, are likely to become frustrated. For an example of the kinds of questions you might ask students about their technology skills at the elementary, middle and high school levels, see the Self-Assessment Scales posted by the Bellingham, Washington Public Schools at . Consider whether it is necessary to your unit for each student to be able to type, and how accurately and quickly. If students are going to work in cooperative groups, it might not be necessary for everyone to be a crack typist. However, it might make sense to consider typing skills when deciding who will work with whom. Just in Time Training: For students who do not have much experience with basic computer functions, it is a good idea to provide or arrange for training in the fundamentals before you start your unit so that they are less likely to struggle once it is underway. Most software comes with detailed instructions, a training or tour on CD-ROM, or online support. Also, self-guided tutorials for most popular software abound on the Internet. Here are some sources of online tutorials: Atomic Learning Technology Tutorials on the Web LearnThat Free Windows Tutorials Page 32
  • 33. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Getting Everyone Up to Speed: If you are introducing technology that is unfamiliar to most students—such as new hardware or software or advanced features—it will be necessary to provide some level of training before students can be expected use the technology in a productive way, and ongoing support while the unit is in progress. When and how will you bring students up to speed? Who should provide this training and support? --You, the teacher—if you are sufficiently familiar with the technology, you may choose to use class time or a special “section” meeting to teach students to use the technology yourself; --Technology specialist in your school—If your school has a tech specialist or tech integrator, s/he might work with you as a co- teacher or trainer to instruct students in the basics of the technology being used for your unit; --Parents, volunteers, classroom aides, or student-teachers with technology skills can help out in the classroom as students are learning to use a new technology; --Students who are tech-savvy often are able to figure out new technologies and teach or help their peers. Page 33
  • 34. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING Appendix Survey Of Students’ Technology Access There are many tools available to determine students’ technology access and skills. If you choose to develop such a survey, the items below might be helpful—but feel free to create your own. I use a computer to do the following: Yes No 1. keyboard with a few fingers ❏ ❏ 2. keyboard with all fingers ❏ ❏ 3. keyboard with all fingers, not looking ❏ ❏ 4. word process when writing stories ❏ ❏ 5. word process doing research papers ❏ ❏ 6. draw ❏ ❏ 7. use programs like Oregon Trail, Geometer’s Sketchpad ❏ ❏ 8. send email ❏ ❏ 9. exchange instant messages ❏ ❏ 10. create slide shows (KidPix , PowerPoint, AppleWorks) ❏ ❏ 11. create presentations (HyperStudio, PowerPoint, Flash) ❏ ❏ 12. create/edit images, movies or photos ❏ ❏ 13. do research on the web ❏ ❏ 14. create graphics ❏ ❏ 15. design projects in industrial arts ❏ ❏ 16. create web pages ❏ ❏ 17. use databases ❏ ❏ 18. create databases ❏ ❏ 19. use spreadsheets ❏ ❏ 20. create spreadsheets ❏ ❏ 21. enjoy entertainment (games, music, video) ❏ ❏ 22. surf the web ❏ ❏ 23. write computer programs (C++, Java, etc.) ❏ ❏ I use the computer: school/outside 24. not at all ❏ ❏ 25. only a little ❏ ❏ 26. a lot ❏ ❏ 27. for my own stuff ❏ ❏ 28. for my schoolwork ❏ ❏ I use or have used: school/outside 29. computers in the school library ❏ ❏ 30. laptop computers in school ❏ ❏ 31. a scanner ❏ ❏ 32. a digital camera ❏ ❏ 33. a digital video camera (for movies) ❏ ❏ 34. a calculator ❏ ❏ 35. a graphing calculator ❏ ❏ 36. probes that connect to a computer or calculator ❏ ❏ Page 34
  • 35. PRACTICAL STRATEGIES FOR INTEGRATING TECHNOLOGY TO IMPROVE LEARNING At home: Yes No 37. there is a fairly up to date computer (Power PC or newer, such as an ❏ ❏ iMac, or Pentium) 38. I have a printer at home ❏ ❏ 39. I have Internet access at home: • lower bandwidth, such as dial-up ❏ • higher bandwidth, such as cable or DSL ❏ 40. I have the following software at home: Yes No • word processing (like AppleWorks, Microsoft Word) ❏ ❏ • database (like AppleWorks, Microsoft Access) ❏ ❏ • spreadsheet (like AppleWorks, Microsoft Excel) ❏ ❏ • Internet browser (like Netscape, Internet Explorer or Safari) ❏ ❏ • email ❏ ❏ 41. there is an older computer at home suitable for homework ❏ ❏ 42. I do not have a computer at home but use one elsewhere ❏ ❏ 43. I do not have any access to a computer outside of school ❏ ❏ Page 35