Article Reviews by Students in an Education Class

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The following materials were prepared by students in graduate courses in education.

Review of Andy Hargreaves

Andy Hargreaves began as an elementary school teacher before going on to receive his Ph.D. in Sociology. He has written or edited more than 25 books. Currently, he chairs the education department at Lynch School of Education at Boston College where he focuses on “educational change, performing beyond expectations, sustainable leadership and the emotions of teaching.” He lives in Boston with his wife, also a teacher, Pauline and they have two children, Lucy and Stuart.

In the article I read, Hargreaves is stressing the importance of teachers and parents working together as opposed to being self-declared enemies. He points out that parents can provide teachers with resources they need, such as fund-raising and emotional support. Also, how teachers and parents should have the same thing in mind: the best interest of the child.

In Hargreaves study which he based this article on, the notes two problems which seem to stand out the most among the teachers he interviewed: 1. High anxiety among teachers, and 2. Nostalgia among parents. Teacher’s anxiety comes from parents’ criticism. When parents criticize teachers’ competence and expertise (learning decisions instead of learning issues), teachers are left feeling defensive. In this defensive state it is hard for one to approach the situation calm and collected.

Some parents are driven by nostalgia and want their children’s schooling to be how theirs used to be. These parents do not want to deviate from what they already know. Since the past is never how you really remember it, the best cure for this nostalgia is to confront the inaccurate memories with realities. While uncovering realities of the past is important, just as important is making your teaching methods transparent through portfolios etc.

Hargreaves ends his article by calling for a social movement surrounding education. This social movement would call upon the public to join teachers in protesting cutbacks done by the government and media campaigns to defend teachers and teaching against governmental attacks. It would encourage teachers to respond to criticism calmly and with grace. It would encourage parents to attend to all children’s needs not just their own child.

This article really sheds light on issues teachers face with parents and vice versa. I think it is very important that, as teachers, we work to break down the barriers that can divide parents from teachers. Parents can be a very valuable resource especially when it comes to the social change needed. If teachers could be allied with parents there would be a much larger group for the government to deal with when they tried to enforce more cutbacks on our schools.

Article Hargreaves, A. (2001). Beyond Anxiety and Nostalgia: Building a Social Movement for Educational Change. The Phi Delta Kappan. Vol. 82, No. 5, pp 373-377. (Retrieved through JSTOR)

Math in the Classroom

Math in the classroom-changing the way math is taught in the elementary classroom

I never remember loving math in elementary/secondary school, and truly struggled when I entered college. I don't believe that I wasn't good at it, but maybe just never had anyone present math with manipulatives or in a manner other than a textbook page. I found myself doing much of the same routine when I began teaching math in my own classroom. I truly wanted to reach all my children and felt that if I followed the Course of study and the textbook, my students would learn to do math. I was very wrong. This past summer, my school went through year 1 of our 2 year AMSTI (Alabama Math, Science and Technology Institute)traing present by UAB. I spent much of this time learning not to be afraid of a hands on (non traditional)approach to math. We used number talks and number of the day for a chance to mentally do math and apply our writing to math. It also gives the students many opportunities to express a number in many ways (such as pictures, words, talley marks, etc). It allows for small group discussion and an open and safe math learning environment. It gives the students many manipulatives and real life situations for using numbers and math. It has been tough, however, I do believe that my students are being given a great opportunity to see math as something other than memorization and workbook pages. I am greatly looking forward to yeear 2 training and what new ideas I will be able to bring to my students. If only someone had given me the opportunity to explore numbers, I may have had a completely different view of my education career.

Crystall Moore EDT 630-Oct 21, 2008

Learning to Write Math

Wiki Activity July 3,2008: Writing to Learn Mathematics (Christina Dixon EDT 630)

Writing to learn in mathematics really grabbed my attention because of my recent training with the AMSTI (Alabama Math and Science Initiative) two weeks ago. During this training there was an extreme amount of focus in keeping Math and Science Journals. Before this year, the amount of time my students and I took writing about what we learned in the subject of Math or Science was very minimal. I failed to realize the importance of written communication. I agree that it indeed allows a person to internalize and restate things they hear. I learned that we remember about 10 percent of what we hear, 20 percent of what we see and hear, 50 percent of what we do, and 75 percent of what we write and discuss. Thisis not stated verbatim, but the gist is writing produces powerful results when it comes to really understanding and grasping concepts. As I wrote in my own math journal during the AMSTI training, my eyes began to open and I really allowed myself to think deeper. I believe writing across the curriculum supports all best practice theories and fail to understand why teachers are not taking advantage of the benefits it provides. Our students deserve to receive maximum knowledge in all subject areas and a simple journal or free write is a gift none of them should go without. This school year I plan to start out giving each of my students the freedom of written communication in Science, Math, and every other subject. I will no longer silence their voice in subjects like Math and Science, but will give them control of their learning by allowing them to have powerful discussions daily!

Retrieved from "http://iae-pedia.org/Talk:Communicating_in_the_Language_of_Mathematics"

Improving our Educational System

Celena Miller UAB EDT 630

I believe everything a student needs to learn already exists in most of our schools. One being, qualified teachers. I wish students would take advantage of the insight their teachers would give them if given the opportunity. The learning materials students are provided with are under utilized. Most of the content they are required to know is inside their textbooks. Along with workbooks, lectures, labs, and instructional software, students are given every chance to learn if they so choose. Throwing money at schools won't help. If a specific district misuses money and they are asking for more, then that would be a waste. They'll misuse additional money as well. I believe improving schools must begin with improving students as individuals, which is a parent's responsibility. Parents are sending their kids to school unprepared to learn. It is as if they want the schools to teach academics, discipline, and social skills. Schools can only be successful when the principles being taught are reinforced at home. I believe parents see schools as free daycare. For example, Vincent Schools within Shelby County Schools piloted year round school. The students retain more because their breaks are shorter yet, more often. Teachers have a change to regroup and rest during the breaks and student scores improved. Shelby County parents as a whole voted against year round schools because they were concerned about where they would find child care during the three week breaks in between each grading period. Vincent requested to stay on year round school because it works so well. I believe the use of computers in education is important and beneficial to students. I believe new ideas are great however, we could stand to better utilize the great ideas, technology, teachers, and processes which already exist. No one can dispute that our students are up against many difficulties in this society. However, our students must be informed, and engage their minds to create something of value. Otherwise their chances of participating effectively in our world economy may likely be quite limited.

Project Based Learning Response

M.Paradiso, UAB RE: http://iae-pedia.org/Project-Based_Learning

As a Montessori teacher, project based learning (PBL) is a continuing theme within our 4th-6th grade classroom; especially in the cultural subjects (geography, history, science). Our premise as educators is for the children to become explorers of their environment and dive further into subjects that interest them. Many topics are covered throughout the year and the students work independently and in small groups on projects to present to the class or school community. All projects are assessed using a rubric system we develop to for that particular project. So on reality, no two assessments are alike.

I agree with the author that many parts of formal education are the building blocks to PBL activities. If children do not have the foundations of math, reading, and writing then they are unable to move forward and develop their higher level thinking skills in collaborative situations. These basic skills are the stepping stones to our future.

As technology continues to progress, I have seen PBL learning activities move towards this trend. Students are drawn to researching on the internet, developing PowerPoint presentation, and developing written reports with graphics and other various images inserted. These make for powerful presentations that engage the audience and make a lasting impact on the group. Some of my students have even developed timelines of ancient civilizations and insert clip art along with information. These printed documents are later lamented and displayed within the classroom as reference materials. Other activities include PowerPoint presentations on Ancient Egypt life and making Ancient Roman god and goddess information cards. These cards are now used as information materials within the classroom.

I to believe that PBL learning develop students to be higher level thinkers and problem solvers. They learn to work in cooperative learning situations and to assess each others work within the group with positive reinforcement. In our class, negative criticism is not allowed. All criticism is taught to be given positively so the child feels proud of their work instead of defeated. As their higher level skills develop with maturity, the task they are given become more complex. We tend to follow Bloom’s Taxonomy and model all research to include some types of questions from each category. The complexity of the questions/research increases as the children develop emotionally and academically.

I personally feel if all school could allow more PBL learning, our children would be better rounded academically. They would know how to think outside –the-box and understand how to handle many life skills that will eventually come their way. It is a shame that public education is not fully recognizing this and is only allowing this to happen sporadically within the school system. It seems to happen only as an enrichment program for those they deem up to the challenge; instead of teaching everyone to think and learn in a bright and creative way.


Kimberly Cornutt EDT 630

I would like to respond to the project based learning approach. I think this is a wonderful way for our students to learn. PBL allows students to think through a concept and come up with a finished product or project. Students seem to enjoy this method. If PBL is done correctly, the responsibility of learning is left up to the students. PLB encourages the students to take that responsibility to ask questions until they understand the concepts.

The projects can really get technology involved. Some of the finished products can be power points and videos. Students can use the internet for research for their project. I have a project where many students choose to do a video. The video is really interesting and my students really enjoy making it. I feel that they learn a lot in the process of the project. I am always amazed at the amount of knowledge my students already have with technology. Even thought I think project based learning is beneficial, I find it difficult to do, on a daily basis. It does not fit with every concept that I teach. I also try to use problem based learning with my students. Problem based learning is when I give my students a problem that allows them to discover other concepts. This has helped me change the way I teach because I think it is really important to focus on the big ideas of my class, rather than smaller sections. I think if my students learn the big concepts, the smaller things will come along the way. Project based learning and problem based learning both focus on cooperative learning. Most of my students like to work in groups. They can share ideas with each other, which helps them figure things out on their own, which helps them remember the concepts.

Improving Education

S. Rodgers, UAB Improving Education

Children need a quality education to prepare them to thrive in the global economy and competitive world. Today, a K-12 education may simply not be enough. Children also benefit from preschool and kindergarten, and young adults need two to four years of college to be prepared for the workforce. Our educational system has yet to adapt to this new reality.

Our children need a quality K-12 education to prepare them for college and beyond. Since the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, the federal law that sets educational guidelines for states and schools, was enacted, I have consistently supported funding NCLB to the level originally promised by President Bush so that local communities have the resources they need to comply with new federal standards.

Regrettably, while states are required to implement the new system, the federal government has not provided the necessary funding to comply with the new guidelines. Many local schools have been forced to eliminate programs such as physical education, art, music and drama as a result of insufficient federal assistance coupled with drastic reductions in state reimbursements to communities. In fact, the Republican leadership has under-funded NCLB nationally by billions since the bill was signed into law in 2001, and the program will be shortchanged billions more if the President’s budget for fiscal year 2007 is approved. Without the promised federal funding, our local communities are fighting an uphill battle when making a good faith effort to comply with NCLB mandates.

As a teacher myself, I always like to see improvement in the education. But I don’t agree with the No Child Left Behind Act and all of the guidelines it has set for schools.

Christi Stallings

EDT 630

Technology is not consistent whatsoever among our schools. Yet, we expect all students to be able to use technology effectively. In our system alone, some schools have an abundance of technology, including Smartboards, classroom computers, and document cameras. While other schools in this same system do not even have one student computer per classroom. How can we give all students equal technology education when we do not have equal technology available to the students? How can students be expected to use technology sources that they have never seen or put their hands on? As Donald Leu noted at the MidSouth conference, the world is quickly converting to technology, especially the Internet. The United States, one of the wealthiest countries, has made less progress in developing a plan to make technology accessible to all students. The poorest countries like Finland and Mexico are making greater strides to enhance technology, especially the Internet, than the US! Not only are we not giving our students equal opportunities within our country to use technolgy, but we are not allowing them to compete with other countries' use of technology. Technology is improving and developing at such a rapid speed that children are going to continue to get farther and farther behind. Think about sixth grade students who do not even know how to use the Internet or Microsoft Word. They are getting left farther behind each day as new technology is introduced to other students very often. Some sixth graders are running web pages. If we do not take action soon, some of these students could suffer in college and the work world. I believe that it is the countries job to make equal funds available for technology. Instead of sinking ridiculous funding into "No Child Left Behind", we can use the money to make a difference- buy technology.

Brain Science

M. Treadwell EDT 630 Univ. of Alabama-Birmingham

Concerning the article on Brain Science there are 3 books that I would like to suggest be added to the list of resources. They have all been helpful to me as a middle school teacher of foreign languages.

The first book is entitled How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience and School. It is a collaboration between the National Academies of Sciences and Engineering, the National Institute of Medicine, and the National Research Council. This book summarizes a large body of research from neuroscience, cognitive science, cognitive psychology, and several other fields and gives implications for teaching and learning both in schools and in professional development settings. An online copy of the book can be located at: http://www.nap.edu/html/howpeople1/

The second book I would like to recommend was used in a recent Adolescent Psychology class that I took at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. The book is entitled, Why do they act that way?: A Survival Guide to the Adolescent Brain for You and Your Teen by David Walsh. This book is written with a much more manageable length and more layperson friendly vocabulary than How People Learn. However, it is also addressed to parents and teens and not to professional educators. This book goes in-depth about the still forming brain of adolescents and the implications for their sometimes bizarre or impulsive behavior. For an online version of the book go to: http://tinyurl.com/67sf82

The third book I would like to recommend, particularly to teachers of a second or foreign languages is titled Joyful Fluency: Brain-Compatible Second Language Acquisition. This was a collaboration between Lynn Freeman Dhority, a career foreign language teacher, and none less than the renowned Eric Jensen, international authority on Brain Science and education. This book gives the underpinnings and out workings of the latest brain based learning techniques and how to create a foreign language, learning environment that is in line with the findings of the research. Well written with detailed ideas ready to apply in the classroom, this is a must read for any teacher of languages. For more info see: http://www.amazon.com/Joyful-Fluency-Brain-Compatible-Language-Acquisition/dp/189046001X

Group Collaboration

Jennifer Mueller EDT 630

Working in a group collaboratively through the internet is tricky business. Often when people work together on a project, they have some verbal contact. Through this class, I have found working online to be rewarding yet challenging. I love that I can work on discussions and projects when the timing best suits me. This is especially important since I am trying to entertain my children this summer as well as plan for next year’s school year. The difficulty comes in making sure that you respond in a timely manner to discussions and that you interpret everyone’s comments as then intended them. I think another great amount of frustration is the lack of regularly timed sessions for question and answer clarification regarding actual assignments and expectations. I have found a nervousness about each assignment in one online class I am enrolled in due to the lack of assuredness of expectations; yet another class I am taking in the same format is not as concerning. I think this is normal for learning different teaching styles leading each class.

I am wondering how you gain more assurance. I think the biggest difference between the classes that I have noticed is simply the guidelines that have been established and the thoroughness of class assignments and expectations. I know that my confusion has not been isolated for many people in my group have read differently the various assignment requirements. This doesn’t present itself in my second class. My goal is to fine tune my performance so by the end of the current term, I will have co-working skills that facilitate a positive and productive group atmosphere.

Technology and Need for Staff Development

The following are student ideas on the topic of technology and staff development.

Annie Dreskin

Author of Review Annie Dreskin. Program Affiliation: UNM College of Education.

Technology and the need for Professional Development, where did we drop the ball?

Trying to stay abreast of the changes in education is difficult enough without having to become computer science majors. Computer technology was first created to assist in the process of everyday work. Now, we are faced with the issues of an obese population, children that can not spell, and can not form a complex creative thought past what game they last played or website they last visited. When I was young, I had a Speak and Spell. It taught basic spelling or math. Now, children have to have computer graphics that almost send a brain into epileptic fits. We had PONG on the Atari, now kids would sell their souls for the latest Xbox or MySpace downloads.

Safety is another area that teachers must be on constant guard with. My parents never had to wory about internet predators, there was no internet. Now, pedophiles can hack into any network they choose and stalk children as young as 3. Preschoolers are now "net savvy". Teachers are no longer the man or woman that fed you the 3 R's. They are your tech support, your tech safety grid, and your content advisers. I have no problem with technology in the classroom, but I would like to know EVERY in and out of a program if I am to use it to the best of it's ability.

Consistent professional development with updated technology only works if it's relavant. Oh, and I forgot to mention, WE STILL HAVE TO TEACH THOSE SAME 3 R'S. Katie Carden EDT 630--October 28, 2008 wiki activity Oct. 28, 2008: Technology and the need for Professional Development

Amy Bynum-UAB EDT 630

October 21, 2008

I believe that in any job that you must stay up to date on new types of common technology needed to complete basic computer skills. As teachers, you must always demand that you stay up to date on technology that you can use in your classroom. If you stay up to date on new technology offered in the classrooms today you are going to not only enrich the children's lives in your class, but your teaching can be more motivational for you! It is much more fun and effort free to teach in a classroom that offers new possibilities for technological advancement. Recently, my school offered staff development online for the Thinklink program. Many of the teachers found that the staff development was very confusing and not helpful at all. I have found this true for much of the staff development offered in the area of technology. Teachers that are not familiar with basic computer skills are very overwhelmed by these workshops that move too quickly. The workshops expect you to already have basic computer knowledge and skills. I think that the workshops would be more user friendly if a person was there to be hands on to help you. Computers have changed so much even in the past ten to fifteen years. I remember when all of the computer screens were green and offered very little use other than playing games for me when I was a child. I have tried to stay up to date to better my life and the students academics.

Staci Caldwell - UAB EDT 630

I think that as I get older…students get smarter. It is so important for a teacher to grow with technology just as his/her students are. I do not think there is anything more frustrating as a student then to have a teacher attempt to use technology in class, and then not be able to use is correctly. It wastes lots of time in class and often makes students lose respect for their teacher, especially if this happens often. The techniques of teaching are changing and teachers must be open to changing.

The students we are attempting to reach today are much different than the students that teachers tried to reach only ten years ago. I just had my ten year reunion…it was not uncommon for the students in my graduating class not to have a computer at their home. I did not get a computer at my house until I was 16 years old, a sophomore in high school. Times are changing and if a teacher chooses not to change with them then he/she does not have the best interest of his/her students at heart. It is important for teachers and those in administration to see the value of teachers being educated in technology. Teachers must be given the opportunity be administration to further their skills and staying up with technology. I believe that it would be a great idea for teachers to have a mandatory technology class every few years. This will help them to stay current in the changing world of technology. Many times I believe that a teacher is willing to learn, but he/she is just not given the opportunity.

Haley Watts UAB EDT630

Technology becomes more important to our school systems as well as our society with every new year. I can at least speak for myself in saying that I could use more guidance on technological advances. These should start at the college level and be required as a part of staff development every year within each school system. Technology advances faster than teachers can keep up and I think it is important for the children to have access to all of these advantages. The class I am taking at UAB right now, EDT 630, has introduced me to functions and terms I have never even been exposed to in the classroom or just in everyday life. I consider myself an avid technology user and am always very willing to use technology in the classroom. However, I am not one to sit down and figure out a completely foreign concept without any direction at all.

Staff development focused primarily on technology would be extremely helpful and useful to me for my own classroom.

My mother was a teacher and left the classroom to raise her kids. She has wanted to go back for years but has been so leery because of the technological advances that have been made and feels like she would never catch up with it. She has watched her friends that are still in the classroom struggle as each new piece of technology enters their room. They did not grow up with computers as I did and the rest of my generation. They have made comments to me how hard it has been to acclimate to technology and use it in their classrooms. Technological staff development is imperative for them to keep up with the rest of the classrooms and the advances being made. .

Deaundra Hill UAB, EDT 630

When I was in college at the University of Montevallo I had two technology classes. One class was very advanced. I remember doing a group project where we had to take pictures of the inside of a building and download them onto the computer. We then had to follow several steps to make them into a panoramic viewing. I thought that this was new age technology. Wow! How times have changed.

There have been a lot of changes with technology. With technology constantly changing, teachers will need ongoing professional development activities to keep up. We are supposed to incorporate technology into our lessons. With the abundance of things available, this can be easily done. We have everything from palm pilots, PDA’s, digital cameras, Elmo projectors, cell phones, and the list goes on. With each tool, there are many features that one will have to figure out. I begin to wonder, who has the time to read all the manuals to operate each one effectively?

There are major advantages and disadvantage of have an abundance of resources available. Is too much just enough? There are many disadvantages of technology for teachers. Many times technology has to take a back seat to all the other professional development workshops that are strongly encouraged. I am noticing more that technology is incorporated into the workshops one way or another. The major complaint I hear about technology is that it takes a lot of time to learn. As a person who thrives on doing things the “right” way, if I am going to learn how to do something, it is definitely something I want to be able to use in my classroom. Many times when teachers go to technology workshops, if it is something they become frustrated with, they will easily give up. I am definitely that person. It is almost as if I need someone there who is very knowledgeable of the tool to help me use it effectively. I also want to make sure I teach it effectively to my students. Thank goodness, Shelby County offers technology classes throughout the year. We can also submit classes we would like to have offered to our technology department.

The advantages are that teachers will be able to teach their students about technology effectively. We will also be able to incorporate it effectively into our lessons. Being able to use technology decreases the anxiety level when something new or updated is introduced. However, I would not want to live without technology and cannot imagine life without it.

Renee Stewart, UAB EDT 630

You can spend all the money you want on hardware, software, and other computer equipment, but unless you train teachers on how to use this technology in the classroom---you've wasted every dime you've spent. Technology plays a critical role in allowing teachers to focus on student-centered instruction. That's why staff development can go a long way toward helping us reorganizing our schools and turning them into learning environments that will truly prepare student for the future. When it comes to professional development for technology integration, the issue is much the same for veteran teachers as it is for new teachers. New teachers may have a better handle on general computer use, but most colleges of education are still preparing future teachers for an educational system that existed in the distant past without technology. Future teachers need to take courses in college that prepare them on how to integrate technology into the curriculum not just how to teach students to “use” the computers. In the system where I teach we have 2 three day sessions in the summer where teachers can participate in professional development focused on technology. All schools need to offer professional development for teachers in regard to technology. Administrators should model the use of technology and not give up on teachers who haven't yet become comfortable with computers as an instructional tool. But I think as teachers we have to recognize that this is the future for which we must prepare children. If we don't, we will have wasted every dollar we have spent on classroom technology.

Katie Gray, UAB EDT 630

This is a very big topic in school systems right now. Many teachers are intimidated by technology and we are receiving new technology every year in order to keep up with the new advancements. It is imperative that we know how to use this technology correctly in our classrooms.....children will definitely know how to use it. Our school system has set aside two days in the fall for professional development in technology. We are required to attend these PD sessions, but we do have a choice on which sessions we attend. This is good because like our students, teachers are at different learning levels with technology. Our school system has provided these days for the past three years!

I actually attended a college as an undergrad that did teach you how to integrate technology into the curriculum. The only problem is that the world of technology is changing so fast, it is important to update your tech skills constantly. Fortunately, my school system is aware of the importance of technology in the classroom and they are actively searching for ways to make their teachers better. The biggest problem to overcome in our school system was the lack of enthusiasm due to apprehension and anxiety about using the new technology. Once teachers began to attend Professional Development in technology and learned how to operate devices, they felt much more confident in their technology abilities. Hopefully, our school system will continue to see this as of high importance. Technology can be integrated into the curriculum in so many different ways and it is a great student motivator!

Marta Dollar, UAB EDT 630

Technology has become the biggest part of education. Without it most schools would not be able to function as well. Not only do we use technology as a teaching standard now, but our schools run smoothly thanks to many types of electronics. With today's growing technological needs our student must learn how to manipulate this technology so they may become ready for a life in this advanced world. Teachers are required to teach these standards and programs to students, but most don't have the time to teach themselves how to do it. At our school system for instance, we are supposed to have a technology guy that comes to our school every Tuesday. He only showed up 2 times last year. What are the teachers to do? I personally had a brand new computer that was donated to me, but he had to install it. It sat in my room until after Christmas. And the older teachers who have never been around computers are not interested in incorporating them into their curriculum. Most of this is because no one is there to teach them how easy these electronics can make their lives. I said all that to say this, if the state requires us to have technology standards, they need to supply workers to implement those standards. Most teachers are willing to use the technology, but we need a staff that can develop better ways to implement it. We need people who can teach teachers how to use the technology and what all it can do. For example, for high schools, power point is an awesome outlet for taking notes and gathering information, but a teacher must have someone show her how to use the program. Think of it like this, if a bank hires a new teller, do they just say "here's your machine and the bank program, just work with it till you figure it out?" No, they assign someone to train this person on every aspect of the computer program and teller machines. Schools must do the same. The state must provide people to train teachers on every aspect of the technologies required to make a great classroom. They must provide professional development and training sessions every few months. If technology is going to be a part of our school then the support must be in place to make it a success.

Jessica Stevens, UAB EDT 630

Technology has become a large part of education due to the fact that the world we live in has become "technology-centered". Sit back and try to imagine the world without technology...it is hard isn't it. As time goes on, the use of technology will increase more and more. This is why it is imperative that students learn how to use technology effectively in schools. But, first thing is first. Educators must know how to use the technology and effectively teach the students not only how to use it but also why they are using it. I student taught in a school system where technology was practically non-existent. In my opinion, this is unacceptable. At this particular school, the principal did not even utilize the use of email. Rather, he spoke over the intercom every time a memo needed to be given to the teachers. This is one prime example of how important technology use in the schools is. If educators are not modeling (and teaching for that matter) the correct use of technology, how is the next generation going to survive? Young educators are more apt to know and understand the uses of technology in this day in age. Older educators, however, may not know as much about it. Therefore, it is imperative that school systems offer training on technological programs being used in the schools. These training courses should be mandatory and offered every single year since technology is always changing. Yes, younger educators do know more about technology because of their educational background. However, it is likely that they do not know all they need to know in order to successfully teach a student. It would also be very beneficial if schools would offer online courses as well. This will allow the educators to use technology in order to learn about technology. Some educators are "stuck in their old ways". Well, I have news for them: Get over it and move along with the changing times.

Stacy Curl, UAB EDT 630

There are so many things in the education community that are disagreed upon or change almost before you can get a handle on them. One commonality that seems to be present lately is the need for more technology integration in all grade levels. The problem that often occurs is that the students know A LOT more about various forms of technology than the teachers. For many teachers, especially those who have been teaching for numerous years, this is extremely intimidating. The teachers do not feel comfortable creating lessons with technology integration because they simply do not know enough about technology. As often happens, teachers are being asked to do something that they are not prepared or trained to do. They are told to use more technology, but are not given adequate training on how to do this. More training and professional development is essential if teachers are expected to use technology in their classrooms. Teachers need to be given options for the types of technology they can use, ample time to explore these new technologies, instruction in safe use of technology, and follow-up sessions as problems or concerns arise. In our every changing world, technology is going to become more important. Teachers are going to have to get on board and know that this is not going to go away. It is not enough for school systems to offer professional development in technology use, there are going to have to be some mandatory training sessions. Let’s face it; there are many teachers who are content to continue doing the same thing they have done for years. If they are not made to try new things, such as technology, they are not going to use it. This is sad, but definitely true. It is also something that, for many teachers, will have to occur with baby steps. A teacher who has never used technology cannot be expected to implement 5 different types of technology immediately. The teacher should be made to feel comfortable with a gradual implementation plan; otherwise many teachers could very well become so overwhelmed that they give up on trying to use any new technology.

Caroline Glidden EDT 630

I agree with what everyone has been writing. Teachers definitely need professional development so they can be comfortable using technology. I believe that staff development is important, but it is even more important to have a strong school support staff. If each school had numerous support staff, than there would be time for a lot of different trainings. My school integrates technology like crazy, but because the system sometimes crashes or the technology stops working, numerous teachers are too afraid to use it. This is not the fault of our technology coordinator, she is amazing, it is just such a huge job, and needs numerous people. Another thing is sometimes professional development can be extremely useless. Teachers, just like students, are all at different levels. At my school some of the teachers still need help with Word and saving documents, while others are fairly comfortable with a computer, and some are extremely advanced. We need PD that reaches all of these people on their levels. We diffentiate for our students and need to do that for ourselves. That way all teachers are comfortable and learning something new. I am sure it is extremely boring for an advanced computer teacher to attend PD on how to use Excel. They would rather be learning about more cutting edge technologies. Our system has a tech conference which is great. Each teacher can find a session that is in their interest area and their level.


Christi Trucks UAB EDT 630

The use of power point in the classroom is becoming more and more common. Teachers are able to create slides on the computer they feel are important to their lesson and display the slides during discussions. Is this the most effective way to use this technology in the classroom? Many teachers say no.

Power Point is beneficial in several ways. Teachers are able to easily create one for different topics that can be saved and used again. Images are added to give students a visual aid in discussions. An outline can be created to serve as talking points for class discussions. Power Points can be previewed by students to encourage discussion once in class.

However, a power point and other use of technology does not guarantee learning has occurred. Just as students once sat and copied notes from the board without listening to their instructor power point, when not used effectively, results in the same student action. It also places limits on student/ teacher dialogue to the predetermined talking points. The ease of power point often results in many teachers using it as the most frequent method of presenting information. Too much repetition can lead to boredom and become ineffective as an instructional tool.

There are many different uses of instructional technology utilized in classrooms today. It is important that teachers do not become monotonous in their instruction. Teachers must be diverse in the technology they use in their classrooms in order to be effective. Power Points and technology are wonderful tools that can be used to enhance daily instruction. Professional Development courses on the use of power point in the classroom and beneficial ways to communicate with students through power point would be useful .

Amber Howard UAB EDT 630

Professional development in technology is very important. I do not feel that I have enough training to successfully implement the new technology that we have in our school. When I was an undergrad, there was a big emphasis on technology in the classroom. I had a long checklist of different types of technology that had to be in my lesson plans during my student teaching. If the checklist wasn't completed, I wasn't graduating. That was 4 years ago, and the technology has changed so much since then. I feel that I have training on new technology, but the development doesn't go in-depth and it doesn't require me to try it. The professional development usually lasts for an hour and I watch someone else demonstrate how to use it. There are many optional system-wide professional development courses, but the school has to have the money for subs. If the training is over the summer, many people are not motivated to attend. Teachers hear over and over about how using technology can transform lessons to be more engaging and efficient and how students have to know how to effectively use technology to perform in the work force. I completely agree with this! But, until administrators still have 90% of the focus on reading and math test scores, I do not feel that using technology in the classroom will get enough attention. I know that our media specialist has all kinds of technology that never gets checked out. I honestly can't remember how to hook up the ELMO and I have never once checked out. I remember watching someone do it, but I never tried it. Professional development in technology needs to be hands-on and have real classroom application. My school has learning communities to plan together in all subjects. If we took even one week every two months and brainstormed what technology to implement into our classrooms with our lesson plans, that would be a huge step in the right direction. Our staff could even take the time to pair up and train each other. I know that there is enough knowledge and technology in our school, we just have to get to a point where we share!

Laurie Fargason, EDT 630, UAB

Technology support for teachers in the classroom seems to be a very large issue. As a teacher who has been out of the classroom for several years, I must admit that I am worried about being ready with all that has changed. This class has been very helpful in learning about all the ways to use technology in the classroom and all the types of technology that are available. Even though I have used technology in my current workplace, the way technology is used in the classroom will be similar in some ways, but different in others. I can see how staff development and training is crucial, not only for teachers in the classroom but for incoming teachers that may have been out for a while. I can also see how teachers are at all different levels of expertise and so training may need to keep this in mind. I am looking forward to workshops that will help me to improve more in my technological abilities. The best attitude is to realize that it is absolutely necessary for teachers to understand the uses of technology. The best way to learn it is to use it, and overcome the fear.

It seems from reading about what is going on in the schools that the technology devices are there, but the training is not sufficient. Wouldn't it be better to cut back on the devices somewhat to make sure the training is in place? It is a waste to have such great technological tools sitting useless because teachers do not know how to use them, or do not want to try. Change is hard, but this is a technical society and we have to teach it to children so that they are prepared.

Julie Crapia, EDT 630, UAB

My philosophy of education along with many others states that it is our job as teachers to teach our students to become life long learners in real life situations. I believe this is true of any profession. Our trade no matter what it is that we do is constantly changing with the times. A major contributor to these changes is the technology world we live in. Computers keep getting smaller, faster, and can do more and more wonderful products than we could have ever imagined from year to year. If we expect our students to become life long learners then we as teaches need to model this behavior. Teaches attend workshops, in-service, and faculty meetings about the math program or a new reading program to be able to keep up with the times and be an engaging teacher. What many schools forget is that we need technology training also. We write these grants and get all this money donated to the schools in order for our classrooms to have all this wonderful technology in the classroom such as; smart boards, elmos and projectors. When the teachers receive this intimidating equipment we stand back and say, "now what". The teachers need training on how to incorporate this equipment into their curriculum and how it can benefit the students. Otherwise it just sits and the students wonder what it is and why we don't get to use it. What a waste of school money. When we write these grants we need to add in money for teacher training. It is my belief that if the teachers receive professional development hours and are compensated in learning about the technology being used in the classroom they would be more involved and willing to learn. This in turn would teach our children to be life long learners in real life situations in a technology world.

Carmon Herron EDT 630

In world of "technology" that we live in today we have no choice but to become proficient in technology. It surrounds us day in and day out. It seems that each day I discover some new type of technology that is unbelievable. Therefore, teachers must be trained and feel comfortable using technology. I know at our school we have plenty of technology available for us to check out and use but many of our teachers still never check out any technology. This means that technology does not get incorporated into many teachers daily lessons. This is sad! I feel that technology is extremely important for our students and that they need to be exposed to technology in the classrooms daily. Technology can be so much from for our students! I is a shame if it is not put to use. With that being said.....I feel that technology is being left behind due to a couple of things... The first reason is that I feel that many teachers do not feel comfortable using the technology so in return they do not feel like they can bring it in the classroom. I understand that they must first become comfortable using technology before they can implement it into their classroom. However, I feel that sometimes you "got to get your feet wet" and just give it a try. Technology is one of those things that you must practice and play with a little before it will feel natural to you. The second reason I feel that many teachers are not using technology is due to feeling so overwhelmed with everything that we are expected to do. So then of course things such as technology gets put on the back burner. Then in the end we never really have time to become proficient using it much less implement it in classroom. I am not saying that our school system does not have plenty of technology professional development opportunities because we do! I feel very blessed to work for such a wonderful school system. I do feel that more emphasis should be put on the use of technology and implementing it into the classrooms but until then we will hope for the best. = - )