Teaching With Technology: Rita Buhite

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by Rita Buhite. She is a Computer Teacher and Technology Integrator at Ridgway High School in Ridgway, PA. Continue reading…


Teaching With Technology: Mike Joyce

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by Mike Joyce. He is a Technology Education Teacher at Tourtellotte Memorial High School in North GrosvenorDale, CT. Continue reading…


Teaching With Technology: Steve Ross

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by Steve Ross. Steve is a Director of Technology at Forest Charter School in Nevada City, CA. Continue reading…


Teaching With Technology: Janet Adams

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by Janet Adams. She is a Learning Director for Continuing Education at Fresno Pacific University in Fresno, CA.

How do you currently integrate technology in your classroom (e.g., products used, devices, etc.)?
Currently, I design, write, and produce 1 hour productions for K-8 classroom using chromakey technology in a studio production. We then connect live to the classroom with our program. I currently just finished Father Serra and the California Missions and have connected live with 4th, 5th, and a retirement center with the program. Videoconference cameras are at the schools sites.

What have been the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom?
Advantages of the technology we are using is that we can bring the experts live to the classroom aligning the lesson, vocabulary, and information that a teacher would not have the expertise or time to create. The school saves money by creating virtual field trips allowing students to travel worldwide.

Disadvantages: 1 hour programs from museums, zoos, science centers may charge 150+ dollars. However, a school grade level may be only able to secure funds for one field trip. The same funds for one trip easily allows 10 to 20 virtual field trips to take place with a live videoconference.

How have your students benefited from technology?
I have helped initiate over 500 videoconferences and attended them in class connections. Students are attentive with questions and conversation happening throughout the connection. Students are able to collaborate with other students/classrooms world wide at now charge.
Heightens Motivation
Improves Communication and Presentation Skills
Increases Connection with the Outside World
Increases DEPTH of Learning

If money were no object, what would you like to see happening in your classroom with respect to use of technology?
All students have access to iPads, time to use, create, publish work “epub” books, papers, draw and present. Apple TV installed in all rooms.
Students are introduced to the “Flipped Classroom” strategy
Connect to “Bridging services” to hold videoconferences in all content areas

We hear the phrase “21st Century Skills” often with respect to technology and education. What are “21st Century Skills?”
Tech skills are changing daily. I believe this generation is growing up with IT language, the skills, the ability, and ease of use and understanding. However, the teachers have not. There is a huge gap between the two.

21st Century Skills are the skills one might see in an Apple Store. The place is packed. That kind of interactive engagement has to be built in our classrooms. Why not have a blended class with content being offered online?
Collaborate worldwide!

Describe the “classroom of 2040.” What’s different? What’s the same?
Different: The Chief Technology Offer must be the cornerstone of classroom learning and administration. The CTO creates the tech access for teachers, students, and community integration.

Same: Budget wows. State and Government Ed Mandates. Classroom monies used for data and assessment and little time for individualized instruction and creative learning.


Teaching With Technology: Rebecca Hartfield

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by Rebecca Hartfield. She is a Science Teacher at North Hall High School in Gainesville, Georgia.

How do you currently integrate technology in your classroom (e.g., products used, devices, etc.)?
I check out laptop carts and Xoom tablets from our media center on a regular basis. I maintain a twitter account and web page for my classes. I use a Prometheus board with slate for notes and everyday usage. I occasionally use a response system with the promethean board.

What have been the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom?
Advantages: makes more interactive with students.
Disadvantage: issues with server at school and getting online.

How have your students benefited from technology?
When using the response system, it keeps them paying attention during notes. Many of the questions asked then show up on quizzes or tests.

If money were no object, what would you like to see happening in your classroom with respect to use of technology?
I would have laptops for every lab station that I have. I would then invest in more probe ware devices for lab activities. This way I could give my students more of what they may see in a college lab setting.

We hear the phrase “21st Century Skills” often with respect to technology and education. What are “21st Century Skills?”
Ability to determine reliability of information. Students often believe if it is on the web then it is factual.

Describe the “classroom of 2040.” What’s different? What’s the same?
Students and teachers are probably not even together physically. Physical classrooms are where students go for extra help, tests, or for lab work. Lectures are sent electronically and students are responsible for listening to them.


Teaching With Technology: John Brishcar

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by John Brishcar, a teacher at Warren County Middle School in Virginia.

How do you currently integrate technology in your classroom (e.g., products used, devices, etc.)?
Hardware: 25 Dell D600 laptops, 4 HP Laser printers, Moodle, and Server (Son’s old laptop from college), Wireless Router. Total cost: $19.95
Software: WinXP Pro (came with the laptops), Open Office, PDF-XChange, etc See the attached link for all the software. Total cost: $0.00

What have been the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom?
Advantages:

  • Teach real world skills
  • Asequential learning – kids learn at their own pace.
  • Students can complete work from home, byod, smartphone…
  • Multiple modalities of information processing (visual, auditory, kinesthetic…)
  • All materials are mirrored on the web for student, parent and teacher access
  • No more copying worksheets, no more ‘lost’ papers as kids print off their own work
  • To make a change, simply change one document on the server.
  • Lesson plans are online and effortless.
  • Quizzes are presented and graded effortlessly with allowances for retakes and random questions from a test bank.
  • Homework is graded effortlessly with allowances for completion and corrections.

Disadvantages:

  • Without an internet connection, difficult to find content
  • Administrators that are tech-shy are reluctant to support efforts to change learning methods.
  • Department that is stuck in the book with worksheet mentality.
  • Incredible amount of prep work, done once.
  • Power outages.

How have your students benefited from technology?
I have students doing A/B work that have never passed a standardized test in their 6 years in school. High test scores and low classroom management issues.

If money were no object, what would you like to see happening in your classroom with respect to use of technology?
I just want an Internet connection.

We hear the phrase “21st Century Skills” often with respect to technology and education. What are “21st Century Skills?”
The ability to learn, to process that new learning, and present it in concert with others using the tools available to industry.

They video taped me at the National School Board Association meeting where I got the “20 to Watch with Technology” award. Six minutes of me! I speak of it more here

Describe the “classroom of 2040.” What’s different? What’s the same?
I don’t think it’s in a single place, during standard hours…or it might just be!


Teaching With Technology: Debbie Brewer

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by Debbie Brewer. She is a Teacher and Technology Coordinator at Lumen Christi High School in Anchorage, Alaska.

How do you currently integrate technology in your classroom (e.g., products used, devices, etc.)?
We don’t “integrate.” We try not to consider technology a separate component to education. Kids don’t see their phone as a tool or toy. It just is a phone. They assume that it is for researching as well as social and they never give it a thought as to what to do with it.

That said, from another perspective, we use whatever kids bring — laptops, netbooks, tablets, phones, ipod touches. In the rooms we have desktops — mostly PC, but a few IMacs also. There are a few smart boards, projectors, etc.

What have been the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom?
Advantages: more kids able to research at the same time, able to differentiate better
Disadvantages: teaching teachers how to monitor and mentor vs. direct teach.

How have your students benefited from technology?
Quicker to ask questions because they know they can look stuff up right away. Better engagement for those at top and bottom.

Also a benefit for those who have learning differences. Things like google docs means that they have less lost work.
Online textbooks mean they don’t leave them at school.

If money were no object, what would you like to see happening in your classroom with respect to use of technology?
All kids would have a laptop. Our bandwidth would be able to handle the increased usage. Kids would work independently part of each day and then also meet with peers and teachers part of each day.
Less “grade level” work, more at readiness level work. Built in video for watching and for interacting. Total engagement.

We hear the phrase “21st Century Skills” often with respect to technology and education. What are “21st Century Skills?”
Team work and collaboration.
Ability to determine the value of a source.
Self-teaching.
And in truth….we can’t answer this. We don’t know what kids (or ourselves) will need. We need to teach how to adapt.

Describe the “classroom of 2040.” What’s different? What’s the same?
“Classroom” is definitely in quotes! I think more kids will learn individually online or in small pods. Parents, especially of young kids, will still need a place to “babysit” so I don’t think we will totally see buildings gone. But we may see more neighborhood groups vs. large schools.
Less grades and more competencies.
Teachers will need to be able to teach multiple areas as well as be able to direct learning instead of handing it out.
We will need to know how to interact online as well as face to face.


Math Chat: What Does it Mean to be “Good at Math”?

The Never Ending Math Problem Some years ago, I taught an evening course at a community college that catered to working adults. The students varied in age from 20 to 60, but they all shared one thing in common. They all had a huge amount of math anxiety. They were all absolutely convinced that they were not “good at math.” This class, with the innocuous name of “General Mathematics for Non-Mathematicians,” was designed to bridge the gap between the skills the students were supposed to have mastered in middle school and high school and where they needed to be. After the mastery of skills in this class and two other prerequisites, the goal was for them to excel in their future mathematics classes and graduate to become clean-room technicians, health workers, machinists, electricians, and dental hygienists.

I remember one woman in particular who came up to me at the beginning of the school year and was literally trembling because she needed the class to graduate and she was so afraid she wouldn’t pass. I promised her that she would do well and would even grow to like math. She looked at me as if I were from Mars.

So what does it take to be “good at Math” and what can we do as educators and parents to foster this mastery in our children? The beginning steps to understanding any subject and to delve into its inner workings further is curiosity. Without intellectual curiosity and a desire to explore there can be no progress into a deeper level of learning. Adults who have had little success with mathematics have already labeled themselves with the “I’m NOT good at math label.” One of the keys is to explain to students that mathematics is challenging for everyone.

“Do not worry about your problems with mathematics, I assure you mine are far greater.” –Albert Einstein
Adopting a spirit of exploration by pulling numbers apart, going down blind alleys with trial and error, playing number games, and teaching students how to self-check their own work can help their fears subside. A student who has been shown varying techniques for skill mastery and concept understanding has a greater chance for success in mastering mathematics at all levels. Our job as teachers, educators, and parents is to help foster this type of high-level engagement and interest.

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s OK to make mistakes. The first time I tried to bake a loaf of bread, I did something wrong with the yeast. My bread turned out to be a lethal weapon instead of something palatable. The next week I tried again. The second loaf of bread was even worse than the first. But my parents and my teachers taught me not to give up so easily. With any new skill, my expectation was, and is, that it may take me some time to master it. The third time, I spent a lot of time focusing on the details of the proper yeast proofing. The resulting loaf was almost as tasty as my Mom’s home-baked bread. Those bites of bread tasted especially flavorful to me because the success was hard won.

The student who is “good at math” doesn’t give up too easily. He or she realizes that there are usually several different ways to solve any mathematics problem. If one pathway doesn’t work or is arduous, there might be a pathway to a clearer process around the corner. There are over 400 proofs of the Pythagorean Theorem. They all achieve the same goal but they vary greatly in length and complexity. The details of each proof matter. Those details are what make that particular proof viable.

I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had the time to make it shorter. –Blaise Pascal

Just like Chinese, Italian, or the acronyms associated with a particular industry, mathematics is a unique language. The use of symbols in mathematics helps to communicate precisely and in a relatively short length. However, just as it takes mastery to be fluent in a language, it takes careful thought, time, and effort to become masterful with mathematical language. But here’s the joy in it…we can write “x + 7 = -25” and it will be understood around the world. Fluency in any language requires practice and the language of mathematics is rich in visual symbols. Once a student understands those symbols, they become second nature and a very complex thought or relationship can be summarized in a very short space.

So, let’s think about how we can represent what it means to be “good at math.”

a = intellectual curiosity
b = a spirit of exploration and play
c = persistence when faced with challenges
d = a toolkit of different techniques to try
e = the ability to pay attention to details
f = fluency in the language of math
g = “good at math”

a + b + c + d + e + f = g

The good news is that these are qualities that we can foster in our children and students. We can also work on these qualities in ourselves as we improve our own mathematical abilities as educators.

My adult student who was trembling at the beginning of our math class went on to become the best student that quarter. She said to me “I wish I had realized how much I could enjoy math. I never would have been afraid to try when I was younger.” That poignant comment stuck with me and influenced my view of the role of mathematics educator ever since.


Teaching With Technology: Jenny David

Welcome to Teaching with Technology! This series of guest posts asks educators to share how they integrate technology in their classrooms. These posts are written by a very special group, CK-12 Foundation’s Champions.

Today’s guest post is by Jenny David. Jenny is a Special Education Teacher with the TCSOS Nexus Program in Jamestown, CA.

How do you currently integrate technology in your classroom (e.g., products used, devices, etc.)?
I am a special education teacher for students in 5th-8th grades who have EBD (Emotional Behavior Disorders). Many students are not at grade level. I utilize the CK-12 grade 6 math book for all students, with modifications based on individual levels. I also use Raz-Kids as a supplement to the SRA Corrective Reading Program.

What have been the advantages and disadvantages of using technology in the classroom?
My students seem less threatened by it than by being handed a big textbook. Also, today’s math books have a lot of information and graphics on each page, which many of my students find too distracting and overwhelming. The CK-12 math format is more focused without many distractions.

The disadvantage is, although I have been teaching for 24 years, my technology skills need to get caught up to today. I continue to take every workshop that is offered and try using all the latest in technology, but it takes time! Also I don’t have a budget to buy some of the items that could be helpful in the classroom, e.g., more up-to-date computers, iPads, and e-readers.

How have your students benefited from technology?
They are able to practice skills at individual levels and get immediate feedback.

If money were no object, what would you like to see happening in your classroom with respect to use of technology?
I would have more computers available, along with e-readers and iPads.

We hear the phrase “21st Century Skills” often with respect to technology and education. What are “21st Century Skills?”
Utilizing today’s technology to learn, communicate and create. In a way we are returning to the Renaissance of learning when people had broader knowledge of a variety of disciplines around a common theme of study, instead of intense specialization where people do not see interconnections.

Describe the “classroom of 2040.” What’s different? What’s the same?
Hopefully we do a better job of meeting individual needs so that all students can reach their full potential.