Monday, October 03, 2011

Embedding Technology into Academic Programs

Effectively embedding technology into education boosts student access, motivation and learning.

There are many ways an educator can employ technology to develop student success.  It's best to journey down this tech-ed path project by project with student learning as the central focus.

There are many projects to choose from--all worthy endeavors when it comes to embedding technology into your daily practice and professional development.

I recommend you choose a project type from the list below, then begin that leg of the journey.

Creating a Professional Learning Network (PLN)
Develop a PLN to foster efficient, targeted professional development engagement via Twitter, Google+, Facebook, blogs and targeted social networks.

Classroom Website: Resource Center
A classroom website provides students, parents and colleagues ready access to links, newsletters, calendars, schedules and information related to your academic program.

Content Blogs
A blog devoted to a specific content area is an easy way to share content information via student comments and teacher modeling.  Unlike classroom anchor charts and hand-outs, students are able to access the blogs repeatedly to acquire content knowledge and understanding.

Class Social Network
There's never enough time in a classroom situation for every child to share his or her point of view--the classroom social network, also known as the "cloud classroom," extends the classroom learning and discussions beyond the walls of the school into homes and other student spaces.  On the network educators, parents and students are able to post timely comments, images, videos with one another thus building a sense of community and shared learning.

In place of paper/pencil notebooks, students can begin to create portfolios for writing and other work online. The ePortfolios provide students with ready access to spell check, choose font styles and colors, insert images, and access dictionaries and thesauri.  Student ePortfolios are easy to share, comment on, revise and utilize for future projects.

Multimedia Compositions
Multimedia compositions are a great way to present students' or educator learning, research and creativity. Through a mix of video, text, images and other presentation tools, students and teachers are able to craft and publish engaging, informative and interactive presentations to boost learning for all in the academic community.

21st Century Learning Units
Revise a current unit or create a new unit that focuses on 21st Century Learning: creativity, collaboration, critical thinking skills and communication.  Utilize a myriad of tech tools in the unit development and implementation.

Learning Links and Tools
The web is filled with useful learning links, tools and apps to support student learning.  Building an organized, easy-to-access reference list to support student learning will enhance learning for all of your students.

What project types have I missed?  Which project listed above are you currently developing with greater depth, purpose and effect?  What are your favorite ways to learn about and employ a new technology venue in your classroom?  How do you assess the venue's impact on student learning?

I look forward to your comments and responses.