Welcome to my learning log!

edtech

Welcome to my Boise State Educational Technology Learning Log. I created this space in EDTECH 501 as a tool to collect and reflect on my coursework while pursuing my graduate degree. As I create artifacts in my courses, I will link them to the appropriate AECT Standards. Please see the “About Me” page for my background and learning goals. Also, feel free to visit my personal blog at jstandre.com

Advertisements

Educational Technology: A Definition

Screen Shot 2015-12-11 at 2.36.45 PM.png

For our final EDTECH 501 assignment, we were tasked with reflecting on the definition of Educational Technology and creating an artifact to represent that definition. This was a wonderful way to tie together all of our learning from this semester.

I feel as though this was the most difficult assignment of the semester. Trying to represent educational technology is difficult,  as it encompasses so many things. With that being said, I think that this was also my favorite assignment this semester. It gave me time to reflect on my both my learning and the processes that I follow on a daily basis in my career.

Originally, I wanted to do a sketchnote on my iPad to complete this assignment, but two things happened. First, I realized that it was going to be too difficult to include all of the aspects that go into the definition of educational technology onto one sheet of paper. Secondly, I realized that I am not as artistically gifted when it comes to drawing on an iPad as I thought that I was. I spent several hours doing a drawing and then deleting that drawing in disgust. Finally, I decided I needed to cut ties with my stylus and find a tool that was better suited to my current problem. Enter Prezi, the presentation tool that has been known to spice up even the most drab presentation and, at the same time, offer up a rare form of sea sickness.

As it turns out, struggling to find the correct tool to complete this assignment is  very relevant to the project itself, as using the appropriate technological processes is, in my opinion, one of the most important points in the educational technology definition. I hope you enjoy my presentation as much as I enjoyed building it. I look forward to applying the skills that I collected in EDTECH 501 this semester to both the remainder of my graduate work and to my career as a whole.

My Educational Technology Definition Prezi

School Evaluation Summary

Coal_miner's_child_in_grade_school._Lejunior,_Harlan_County,_Kentucky._-_NARA_-_541367

Our most current assignment in EDTECH 501 is to evaluate the use of technology in our school district. Using the results of this survey allowed me to create this summary. I went into this assignment with the preconceived notion that my district would not grade well. However, when I took a step back and really tried to gauge our district in a completely unbiased way, I realized that we have come a long way in a short amount of time. With that said, this project has also allowed me to pinpoint many areas that we can begin to make incremental improvements. A few of my preconceived notions also became more apparent as I started this process. I believe a lack of communication and accountability is the root cause of many of our lower rankings. With the integration of collaborative tools like Google Apps for Education, I can see a daily improvement in communication. Also, since the district has made large investments in technology, the level of accountability is steadily increasing as well.

I can easily see this tool being used in conjunction with the Guidebook for Developing an Effective Technology Plan from the National Center of Technology Planning to more accurately complete our yearly technology planning. Moving forward, our team will use these tools to evaluate our current needs individually, and then as a team, we will brainstorm to come up with yearly goals that we can use to complete our yearly tech planning. This process should allow us to focus the brunt of our planning on items that will have the biggest impact on student learning.

 

TechTrends: Makerspaces

This week in EDTECH 501 we were tasked with building an artifact that will help facilitate a current TechTrend from the Horizon Report in our current position. As we are currently working on a Makerspace/STEM project in my district, I chose to create a YouTube video using Keynote and YouTube that gives an overview of our project. Interestingly, this project is similar to what we are trying to get our students to do. Rather than consuming digital content, we want them to create their own digital content.

I was able to use this project to do a lot of research on Makerspaces that I can apply to our project. I found that many districts have built similar spaces, all with excellent results. I also found many great resources that give tutorials and best practices for implementing a Makerspace.

It is my hope that this presentation can be used to show our school board, staff, and community exactly what we are trying to accomplish with this project. With any luck, our students will have a space to innovate and work on solving the world’s problems in the very near future, while at the same time becoming well-rounded 21st century learners.

Resources:

Computational Thinking: An Annotated Bibliography

dictionary-932327_1920

STEM education is all the rage right now. Rightly so, as when you look at the most popular (and highest paying) careers in todays competitive global economy, STEM related careers are at the top of the list. They are also all understaffed and underrepresented by both minorities and women. Personally, I love the push to include more and more STEM education in K-12 schools. It is my opinion that STEM becomes even more powerful through the use of computational thinking. Teaching students to use data, modeling, and algorithms to think about and solve problems logically will lead to students who are not only more valuable when they enter the workforce, it will also create students who are better problem-solvers. Technical courses are an important part of teaching students computational thinking, but I believe that it is important to teach all STEM subjects with a focus on computational thinking.

This week in EDTECH 501, we were tasked with finding peer-reviewed articles on the subject of our choice and creating an annotated bibliography with those articles. We were introduced to EBSCO and Zotero. I must say, I found myself going down the article “rabbit-hole” several times. Though I am not a fan of the EBSCO user-interface, I could easily spend days on the platform reading articles. Zotero is equally ugly and difficult to use, but it is a great tool for organizing articles and properly formatting citations. While working on this project, I began to look for a solution that would allow me to sync my Zotero library in iOS. I found an app called PaperShip, and it did just that. PaperShip was great in that it syncs my Zotero library on my iPhone, allowing me to read and annotate (annotation is a $9.99 in-app purchase) articles.

To close, this assignment helped me better understand APA formatting. Though this style of formatting still seems quite foreign to me, I think that I am beginning to figure it out. More importantly than learning APA, this assignment was helpful not only as refresher in doing research, but also as an introduction to tools that will streamline my research processes moving forward.

If you would like to view my annotated bibliography- click here.

Content Curation

Pinterest EDTECH CoverFollow Jeff’s EdTech Board on Pinterest.

This weeks assignment in EDTECH 501 is to explore Content Curation tools. According to Wikipedia, content curation is the process of collecting, organizing and displaying information relevant to a particular topic or area of interest. There are several content curation tools, both free and paid, available on the web. I tested three of these tools:

First, I created an EdTech newsletter in Paper.li. Paper.li  allows you to pull relevant content into a curated newsletter. It is very simple to use and the final result looks good. However, many of the customizable options require a paid subscription. I could easily see Paper.li being used in a classroom to publish a curated subject-area newsletter for students.

Next, I used Kuratur to create a curated EdTech page that includes Twitter hashtags and RSS feeds. I have to be honest in saying that I really disliked this solution. It was not very intuitive to use and I didn’t care for the final result. While this solution is in Beta and could easily get better, I think that there are much better options available.

Finally, I created a curated EdTech board on Pinterest. Pinterest gives you the ability to pull content from anywhere on the web using the Pinterest chrome extension. This content can be organized into boards and then shared to anyone. You can also search for content posted on other user’s boards or upload content directly from your computer.  Pinterest was, by far, my favorite content curation tool. I don’t know if this is due to familiarity or perhaps ease of use. I could easily see myself using Pinterest for content curation in the classroom and beyond.

These tools can easily be used in the classroom by both teachers and students to organize and present relevant content. The only solution, out of the three that I tested, that I would want to use is Pinterest. With that being said, we have been using Tackk.com in my school district as a collaborative content solution. I feel that Tackk.com lacks a lot of tools available in other content curation solutions, but it is very simple to use and the final result is usually very appealing visually. At the end of the day, users (teachers, students, or otherwise) must find content curation tools that work best for them personally. The most important aspect of curating content is finding a way to do so in a productive manner.

RSS Feeds

This week in EDTECH 501, we were tasked with creating a Digg Reader account and learning more about Really Simple Syndication (RSS). RSS is an XML based standard that allows users to aggregate and organize content from multiple sites into a feed or reader. Using an RSS reader to consume content is much more proficient than having to physically visit each site individually to view the content. Most RSS readers offer some form of bookmarking feature for easy access to relevant content in the future.

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.23.51 AMI am no stranger to RSS, as I have been using Feedly for years. However, I have strayed from using it much during the last few years because my feed grew far to large and unorganized to manage. I have grown to really like Digg Reader this week and I plan on replacing my Feedly with it. To keep from running into the same issue with Digg that I did with Feedly, I plan on being very picky about what gets added to my Digg Reader. I also plan on being meticulous with the organization in Digg Reader. This is why I have pre-made several folders (some currently without any content) that cover specific topics and subjects.

I am not in the classroom, but if I was, I would definitely require my students to create a subject specific RSS feed. I believe that teaching students productivity and organizational skills, while giving them the opportunity to aggregate content better prepares them to become 21st century digital citizens. Personally, RSS will benefit professionals by giving them a productive way to consume all the content that is so crucial to keep up with in educational technology. I am already finding myself getting stuck using the time that I generally use surfing web news enthralled in my RSS feed, consuming relevant curated content.

Digital Divide/Digital Inequality

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 7.51.27 PM

This week in EDTECH 501, we were tasked with creating a HaikuDeck presentation on digital divide and digital inequality. You can view my presentation here- Digital Inequality: Socioeconomic Impact on Educational Technology.

While preparing to create this artifact, not only did I learn about the subject matter, but also about creating powerful presentations. I learned that, when creating a presentation, pictures can be much more powerful than a bland background full of bullet points.

While researching for this artifact, I also read the National Education Technology Plan 2010 Executive Summary. This is actually the first time that I have read this resource. That being said, I was very excited to see that the Department of Education’s plan very much lines up to what we are attempting to do in my district.

I think that as we move forward, this presentation and, more importantly, the National Education Technology Plan 2010 will play a big part in our district planning, as it will act as a formal set of guidelines to help us base our educational technology decisions on.

My only problem with this project is that the time limit didn’t allow me to fully get into Digital Divide/Inequality on a global scale, and I instead focused more of my attention on the problem locally. As I grow in this profession, I believe that I would like to take an active role in global education reform. Digital divide and inequality are issues that we need to seriously address as a global community.