Personal Technology Plan
Jackson Community College
As technology evolves, shifts and changes in the world, classrooms are inevitably
affected by the ripple of technology and its constant transformation. At least 80 percent
of kindergarteners use computers regularly and nearly 50 percent of children under the
age of nine browse the internet (21st Century Literacies 2). By the time students reach
college, many of them are already well versed in social software—technologies such as
blogs, wikis, podcasts and RSS feeds (Parker & Chao 57). Despite the large number of
students conducting computer-related activities at home, “The National Center for
Education Statistics revealed that only half of the public school teachers who had
computers or the Internet available in their schools used them for classroom instruction”
(Judson 584). I recently polled my own college students about where they learn new
computer tools and an astonishing sixty percent said they learn outside of school in their
home environment. The need for greater use of computer and internet access aligns
directly with the State of Michigan’s Technology Plan to implement broadband access to
every Michigan classroom. As a writing teacher at a two year community college, I often
contemplate how technology can be best used in the classroom, even when broadband
access is available, to support students in becoming digital citizens in the 21st century
The Conference on College Composition and Communication Position Statement
on Teaching, Learning, and Assessing Writing in Digital Environments offers five
importation assumptions to consider when guiding student technology use in the college
• Introduce students to the epistemic (knowledge-constructing) characters of
• Provide students with opportunities to apply digital technologies to solve
• Include much hands-on use of technologies
• Engage students in the critical evaluation of information
• Prepare students to be reflective practitioners
CCCC’s position statement is important to note because their assumptions align with the
vision I hold for my own students. I want my students to be able to leave my classroom
knowledgeable about digital technologies through interactive and collaborative methods
of use, while also engaging in critical evaluation of research conducted on the web.
Technology enables students to reach across boundaries that have been in place for years,
opening up the potential for students to explore, expand and build knowledge across all
divides. Technology not only opens doors, but windows and skylights to offer a new
arena and virtual worlds that can engage, inspire and educate all with consistent
frequency. Web tools like blogs, wikis, podcasts, and social networking are just few of
many technologies available to use in my classroom and beyond. In addition to opening
up new and exciting facets of learning for students, technology also has the power to
stabilize and ease current methods of instruction for teachers by offering fluid and easy-
to-use technologies that can enhance, not replace, current practices.
There is great possibility and plausibility in technology having a permanent and
necessary role in educational practices, but as with any new integration there are pitfalls
that technology must overcome in order to play a strong role in education. Technology,
both in its current state and predicted future, can be visualized as Pandora’s Box—where
the opening of it may also bring along a stream of unwanted or unnecessary troubles.
Many educational facilities block Web 2.0 technologies for various issues of privacy,
parental concerns and misassumptions that they cannot adequately be used for
educational purposes. Refusing to allow access to students of such technologies is a
disservice to them as they will be expected to operate on such technologies in the future.
It also directly conflicts with the State of Michigan’s Technology Plan that states “every
Michigan student will be proficient in technology and will demonstrate the ethical use of
technology as a digital citizen and lifelong learner.” If this is indeed Michigan’s goal for
students, denying access to crucial technologies that will help build digital citizenship is
not the most effective approach to achieving the goal and I want to continue to address
this concern in my own education setting.
Furthermore, According to the text Literate Lives in the Information Age:
Narratives of Literacy From the United States, “The U.S. educational system and its
teachers must be ready to meet the needs of students who compose meaning not only
with words, but also with digitized bits of video, sound, photographs, still images, words,
and animations and to support communications across conventional linguistic, cultural,
and geopolitical borders” (Selfe et al. 183). If what Selfe et al. suggests above is true, by
restricting access to 21st century technology, students will not be equipped to succeed in
future demands because they were denied the opportunity to experiment, grow and
reflect through use of video, sound, photographs, still images, etc. that technology easily
supports. To move forward in the future, encouraging digital citizenship, as suggested in
the State of Michigan’s Technology Plan, is critical to enable students to succeed both in
the current state of the world and that which is yet to come.
Current Uses of Technology
Over the past few years, I have made continuing strides to
incorporate Web 2.0 technologies into my classroom to Writing Wikis
enhance and increase communication and collaboration
activities. One of the most significant uses of technology Constr-
that has been in development for several semesters is the The Wiki Research Project connects the
relationship between writing, wikis and
integration of wikis into the writing classroom through a social constructivism.
project titled the Wiki Research Project. The project’s objectives are to introduce
freshman composition students to writing new media, give purpose to their writing and
enhance their research and presentation skills.
The Wiki Research Project is in essence a research paper, but with an added
technology component that allows students to put their writing on the web and give
meaning and importance to their research beyond a grade. The class is divided into
groups of 4 or 5 and each group collectively decides on a general research topic. Then
each group member chooses a subtopic within their larger research topic (for example, a
group may choose environmental issues as their main topic and each group member may
select a different environmental issue such as global warming or recycling for their
individual research). While individual group members research their topics and write a
research paper on their own, as a group they design a wiki where they will present their
collective research findings to the public and house their research.
Each group considers visual design elements and addresses readability concerns
on an online space (for example, students wouldn’t
want to simply copy and paste their essay without
creating headings, pictures, etc. and thinking deeply
about how their work will be read online). The Wiki
Research Project also allows students to demonstrate
ethical copyright practices through image use and
My goal of the Wiki Research Project was to
A page from one group’s wiki,
where they explored the impact of
false stereotypes on genre music.
understand how wikis could be used with a constructivist
Their wiki utilized audio clips and
YouTube videos to showcase pedagogical framework to guide students to develop as
writers, become familiar with what it means to be
digitally literate and to enhance a community of writers. I chose wikis as a tool to
achieve such goals to support my pedagogical beliefs as a teacher. These beliefs are
grounded in social-constructivism, inspired by works and research by Vygotsky, where
knowledge is often seen as evolving through social interactions. Wikis also align with a
social cultural perspective of education, where knowledge is built through community
practices (Warschauer; Windschitl). After the completion of the Wiki Research Project,
students often tell me that they found it wonderful that at the end of the project they had
created their own source by putting their research on the wiki. There is a real sense of
pride and ownership and awe that they have created something that may be useful to
someone else and that captures a large audience. Student feedback such as this asserts
that the educational goals were successfully met in preparing students to become digital
citizens in the 21st century. By maintaining my pedagogical beliefs as an educator through
social-constructivism, the Wiki Research Project creates an opportunity to build on
current classroom practices of communication and group collaboration processes.
In addition to creating the Wiki Research Project, I have also used wikis as course
management systems to organize, house and relay important course content and
information along with providing each student a page on the
classroom wiki to post writing. Overtime, the classroom wiki
became a place for student writers to gather and discuss their
lives, interests and writing, further strengthening the sense of
community. Below is a screenshot of one such discussion led
by a student, Danielle, who was typically the quietest
A sample wiki homepage
student in face-to-face meetings yet the loudest student on
the wiki. This further demonstrates how powerful technology tools, such as wikis, are in
increasing community and collaboration.
While wikis have played a dominant role in my use of technology in education,
blogs, course management
systems, online databases and
various other technological tools
have been explored and put to
use in my classroom as well.
Blogs, in particular, are one area
of technology that I will continue to build upon in the future as I continue to research,
implement and understand how blogs can promote citizenship among student writers. To
read my recent review on blog technologies please click here. This review will help
guide my future implementations of blogs.
Future Plan and Timeline
While I have been continuing to build technology and Web 2.0 tools into my classroom,
there is still much work to be done to achieve both the concepts presented in the State of
Michigan Technology plan and that of the position statement by CCCC. In order to
move my own classroom forward technologically, there are several areas I will focus my
efforts on in the next year to two years to increase the exposure to necessary technologies
while maintaining my pedagogical beliefs grounded in social constructivism. One of the
most important aspects I always consider in technology is whether or not it is being used
for a clear purpose and to address an educational need rather than simply a fun and
exciting new technological toy.
My plan for integrating technology is to continue to root its implementation in
meaningful purposes where a clear educational need or problem can be addressed by
utilizing a specific technology or set of technologies. This concept is present in my
previous use of wikis and will continue to do so in my future endeavors. In the upcoming
semesters, I would like to introduce instant messaging conferences, blogs as reflective
tools and critical thinking spaces, and increase my knowledge and implementation of the
course management system Moodle. Outlined below is a clear timeline of what I plan to
achieve with technology in my professional setting.
Timeline of Technology Integration and Understanding
May-August 2009: Research instant messaging tools appropriate for the college
classroom and various blog sites. Investigate video conferencing in Moodle and how to
build a virtual classroom.
August-December 2009: Initiate instant messaging conferences with composition
students and record the outcome. Use researched blog tool as a reflective writing space
for students. Build an advanced feature into a Moodle distance learning class and observe
January- May 2010: Revise and refine methods of instant messaging and blog
integration where necessary and continue to utilize in the classroom and observe record
and write about outcomes. Integrate another advanced feature into a Moodle distance
learning class and observe outcomes.
"CCCC Position Statement on Teaching, Learning, and Assessing Writing in Digital
Environments." Conference on College Composition and Communication. 2008.
19 Apr. 2009 <www.ncte.org>.
Judson, Eugene. "How Teachers Integrate Technology and Their Beliefs About Learning:
is There a Connection?" Journal of Technology and Teacher Education 14 (2006):
"Leading Educational Transformation for Today's Global Society: State of Michigan
Educational Technology Plan." Mar. 2006. 19 Apr. 2009 <http://techplan.org>.
Parker, Kevin R., and Joseph T. Chao. "Wiki as a Teaching Tool." Interdisciplinary
Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects 3 (2007): 57- 72.
Selfe, Cynthia L., and Gail E. Hawisher. Literate Lives in the Information Age. London:
Lawrence Erlbaum Accociates, 2004.
"Twenty First Century Literacies." NTCE (2007): 1-8. 15 Nov.-Dec. 2007
Warschauer, Mark. "Computer-Mediated Collaborative Learning: Theory and Practice."
The Modern Language Journal 81 (1997): 470-481. JSTOR. Halle Library,
Ypsilanti. 3 Apr. 2007. Keyword: collaborative learning.
Windschitl, Mark. "Framing Constructivism in Practice as the Negotiation of Dilemmas:
an Analysis of the Conceptual, Pedagogical, Cultural, and Political Challenges
Facing Teachers." Review of Educational Research 72 (2002): 131-175.