Major Concepts of Technology

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  • 1. The Importance of Mindtools<br /> Mindtools are tools or technology tools that both teachers and students can use to help them organize and analyze data; reflect on subjects and on learning itself; facilitate discussion and collaboration; assist in problem solving and creation of projects. Mindtools are not the latest technology or website, but they can be, they are the basic tools found in basic programs like Microsoft and Google office and they are not lessons but are basic pedagogy that are proven and promote and enhance the critical thinking of students. The five basic types of mindtools are: database and knowledge building tools, conversation and collaboration tools, visualization tools, and presentation tools. I, along with my students, have integrated the use of many of these mindtools into our lessons and projects. I have used conversation and collaboration tools such as Google.docs and Google slideshow with my students. These tools allowed my students to more easily and effectively collaborate on the very same project or presentation at the exact same time to add: meaning, depth or diversity of perspective as the students working as a group socially negotiated meaning. Conversation tools are very powerful for socially constructed learning. My students in my ELA class collaborated on the creation of a newspaper article by using Microsoft Word. For knowledge construction I have added links to specific news articles for research to our class website. For conducting research the students created a concept map to organize their information and learning and then the students presented their new knowledge in a PowerPoint with clips –music, graphics, and hyperlinks. I require my students to use concept maps for metacognition or to show me how they have progressed in their learning by using Word or concept mapping. <br />Basics of Design for Multimedia<br /> It is very important for a librarian to understand the basics for designing multimedia websites and presentations, etc. If a librarian has a solid understanding of these design basics then the digital library and other multimedia projects that the librarian creates will be much more effective and attractive for getting the attention of the student and teacher and serving them at the same time. Some of the basics of design for creating multimedia are: 1. You do not want the patron to scroll left to right on page –keep the pixel count to within 700. 2. You want to break up the page with subheadings , graphics, etc. so the students can locate information more readily. 3. One of the major goals in creating is to make it attractive and nothing attracts students more than photos and graphics but make sure the graphics add meaning to the content. 4. Another basic of design is to keep the variety of font colors to only two or three different colors –i.e. – title –one color; text –one color; highlighted words –another color. 5. Make sure there is adequate white space by leaving gaps between paragraphs and paragraphs should be short with complete idea(s). 6. Using dark text on a light background is a sure winner for readers, however be careful of pairing complementary colors such as red and green. 7. Adding gizmos and blinking graphics usually distract the reader from the content –remember that content is the priority. I have implemented the use of these basics of design in created various projects throughout our Masters course. I have used these basics as guides to help me in designing more effective websites for my virtual library assignment and my electronic portfolio. I also use the design basics as a guide for my designing a more effective wiki for my classes and school.<br />Importance of Safe and Smart Searching<br /> Safe searching on the internet is very important for both teachers and students to guide students from harmful influences on the internet such as pornography and inappropriate language. We can teach students certain tips for navigating the internet that will help make them much safer. We can teach students to keep their personal information such as age, photo, home address, etc. to themselves. We can explain to students the importance of not meeting friends they meet online. We can help illustrate the importance of not accepting emails, instant chats, friend requests, etc., from people they are not acquainted with or know personally. Students also need to learn the importance of telling someone they trust such as a parent or teacher when they have been made to feel uncomfortable while using the internet. Based on the knowledge I gained from my courses in our Library Science program on the need to help teach students the importance of remaining safe on the internet I decided to include certain information in the wiki I am creating for my students and our teachers in our school. I have added a link to the wiki that is designed for teens to both get their attention and to teach them about the dangers of the internet and practices on how to keep safe in searching and engaging in social media.<br />Knowledge and Importance of How to Evaluate Web Sites for Use with Students and Students Evaluating Web Sites for Use to Gain Knowledge<br /> It is important for both teachers and students to know how to evaluate the trustworthiness and quality of websites on the internet. Teachers need to be able to trust the source of the material they are introducing and teaching to students. Students need to be able to know what sources they can trust and which ones are questionable for there is a plethora of erroneous information and deceitful sites on the internet. There are many aspects of a website that both students and teachers can review and consider in order to judge the trustworthiness of a site. Some of these features of a website you need to evaluate are: contact information given; last date updated; the domain name - .edu; and authority of the writer or creator. As a librarian I will plan to collaborate with teachers in order to plan a lesson designed for teaching all students the importance and necessary knowledge for evaluating the trustworthiness of websites. To sell the idea of the need for this lesson to teachers I will explain to teachers how evaluating websites requires plenty of higher order and critical thinking skills which are skills increasingly being tested on the state standardized test. I plan on using an interactive PowerPoint lesson to accomplish the goal of teaching this important skill to students.<br />School Library Web Site Evaluation for Effectiveness of Purpose<br /> It is important to evaluate and to have others evaluate the website you or another librarian is creating for a school library. One of the main questions to consider when planning or designing the virtual library is- ‘How do I make the student resources section or page of this site interesting enough for students so that they will utilize our virtual library first prior to them considering to “Google” a search?’ There are several characteristics that a quality digital library needs to have in order to be considered effective. Some of these characteristics or features are : equal access ( especially for the disabled); contact information; annotated links to other pages; relevant titles and subtitles; useful information and resources for parents and teachers; useful resources and tools for students; and curriculum resources. Once I become a librarian I will create and utilize a checklist to evaluate the virtual library I will design –very similar to the one we used in Dr. Weimar’s Computer Science course. I plan to not only evaluate the virtual library I have created but to also ask others to use the checklist as well to review the site. <br /> Significance of Acceptable Use Policies<br /> Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) are very important for a school as they set the regulations and rules for behavior and the consequences of our behavior in the use of technology and the internet at the school. It is important that an AUP be clear and to the point for these rules and guidelines are there to the protect the students from pornography, inappropriate language and other harmful influences. It should be district and school policy requiring that each and every student and parent to sign an AUP at the beginning of school prior to the student utilizing school technology resources and the internet. It is advisable that students or staff members be required to sign the AUP prior to their using school technological resources. I believe that an effective AUP not only contain the guidelines but also clearly and concisely explain the consequences for those who choose to not follow the guidelines in the AUP. When I write an or help create an AUP upon being employed as a librarian I will advocate for the importance of including key tips for students to follow in order to be safe in navigating the internet. I believe these tips may assist parents at home who are concerned for helping their children remain safe on the internet.<br />Evaluating and Implementing Automation<br /> There are many different automation systems on the market today and this is such an important investment that you want to take your time in making the decision. You do not want to purchase an automation system because it is inexpensive or popular you want to purchase the automation system that is the best fit for your library and mission. In order to evaluate an automation system there are many steps a librarian needs to take from the beginning of doing preliminary research and creating a project team and proposal to preparing the Request for Proposal (RFP) and selecting the vendor to preparing the site and testing the various functions of the system once you have installed the software. The main functions of an automated system are cataloging, online catalog access, and circulation. There are many aspects to consider in evaluating an automation system such as knowing what type of network and hardware configurations you need or desire. There are so many aspects of automation that a librarian needs to consider but the time and energy put into this process is well worth it in the long run –financially and otherwise - in performing a thorough evaluation. I will take all that I learned from Dr. Weimar’s Computer Science course and apply it to my purchasing or updating an automation system at a school library in the future. I will also definitely use handy and various checklists, forms, and examples within the Toolkit Section located toward the back of our automation textbook .<br />Facilitating the Use of Automation System with All Users<br /> In order to facilitate access of the library and its resources the school librarian needs to instruct all teachers and students in the school on the use of the automation system. The librarian needs to demonstrate in person the various functions of both the online catalog and the checking in and out of materials. During the demonstration it is advisable to give out handouts so that students can follow along with the instruction. Upon completion of the librarian’s demonstration it is necessary to give the students an opportunity for practicing such as in the form of a lesson. It is also important for the librarian to be available to assist students in the weeks and months after the lesson given on showing students how to use the automation system. As a librarian I plan to offer the students practice on the automation system in the form of a game or quiz and I will use this game or quiz to assess the learning of the students. I believe this lesson and opportunity to practice and build skills on the automation system is very critical to the student’s use of the library. If a student feels confident in their use of a technology –automation system, and they are much more likely to use this tool in the future. <br />Ethical Issues Surrounding Technology<br /> There are many issues of copyright law that both teachers and students need to be aware of when using technology and the internet. One of the biggest issues involves students on the file sharing sites and their downloading of music, video, and film. An issue that is a more recent phenomenon is the sampling that is occurring with teens who are creating their own music by using bits or chunks of music from various artists. With all these issues and actions the question that is ever present is are both students and teachers aware of what is the copyright law or Fair Use regulation? Copyright law and Fair Use laws need to be taught to both teachers and students at the beginning of the school year prior to their beginning to use technology and the internet for class assignments or for personal use. With the increase in the use of the internet for research, schools are seeing a rise in plagiarism by students. Students are copying and pasting text instead of taking notes or paraphrasing the text. Librarians need to work with teachers to enlighten students on the proper way to take notes and to paraphrase text. Along with teaching students how to take notes to be more information literate students also need to be shown how to cite and the importance of citing sources. I believe librarians need to collaborate with teachers to design a lesson that not only teaches the importance of citing sources to give credit to the author but that also shows them free citing websites that can assist them such as Easy Bib. With the increase in the student’s use of social media and texting cyberbullying has become an issue. Student’s need to be taught how bullying effects others and that ‘bullying’ has taken many forms such as: physical, verbal, and cyber. I believe a good approach to teaching students how to act ethically on the internet and in using technology is to teach them a simple method of approaching issues in general. The technology and the internet are changing and transforming constantly as new technologies and tools are created and therefore the students need a basic approach or method that they can apply to any ethical issue that may arise. That is why I would teach the students the method for thinking ethically developed by Severson. The Four-Step Method of Principled Ethics he developed is: 1. Get the facts straight; 2. Identify the moral dilemma; 3. Evaluate the moral dilemma using the principles of information ethics to decide which side has the most ethical support; and 4. Test your solution: will it stand up to public scrutiny.<br /> <br />