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Technology Leadership Standard III

Educational technology leaders model, design, and disseminate curriculum plans that include methods and strategies for applying technology to maximize student learning.
A. Facilitate technology-enhanced experiences that address content standards and student technology standards.
B. Use technology to support learner-centered strategies that address the diverse needs of students.
C. Apply technology to demonstrate students’ higher order skills and creativity.
D. Manage student learning activities in a technology-enhanced environment.
E. Use current research and district/region/state/national content and technology standards to build lessons and units of instruction.

 

As a leader, I participate in curriculum planning and design, present at conferences and in-services, and share lessons with other teachers. I believe in leading by example, not just telling other teachers how to integrate technology. Professional organizations that I belong to, ISTE and NCTE, have examples that teachers can access but I know it has always benefited me more to see people actually doing innovative things in their classrooms. Educators need local opportunities of best practices, and it is part of my role to volunteer my time to provide those. I wrote the Anchorage School District’s curriculum guide to Teen Issues in Literature and have presented technology focused lesson plans, including electronic portfolios and communication strategies, to educators at cross-district in-services.

Last fall I got a research project idea from the blog of a college professor who works to integrate technology into his course on emerging media. I shared the idea with my history teaching counterpart, and we began to plan a project for our honors and regular 9th grade students. We had previously identified that our freshmen students needed more practice with research skills and applications, outside of a traditional research paper. The idea was then to have students research as a “flash mob” with everyone working and combining the information from their research into a massive document on “how cultures spread.” Students used Google Docs to enter their research findings into a form, creating a spreadsheet of research from the whole class. Students then read and took notes on all of the information so that the unit could culminate in a seminar discussion of the spread of cultures throughout history.

This one lesson was modeled to other educators in a variety of formal and informal ways. The school librarian was an active participant in our planning and teaching of this unit and so she spread the success of it to other teachers in the school, thinking it would be an especially good fit for science teachers. My teaching partner and I used Google Docs and open-forum time in our department meetings to share the supporting documents and ideas for other applications of use. We presented the lesson, from idea to student reflection, this year at ASTE and wrote the project up as a formal lesson plan. The formal lesson plan was submitted to a differentiated instruction lesson writing group that shared lessons with teachers across the school district.

I use current research and standards to build new lessons and units of instruction as well as to continually revamp lessons created in the past. As in the project above, the study of world history and world literature promote global citizenship. “…the study of international literature has a special role to play in maintaining a fragile world peace…literature is more effective than history in helping students to understand other cultures,” (Smith, 2011). As I pull past instructional units out of folders in advance of teaching it in class, I make note of areas that can be improved and content that can be enriched through the addition of technology. For the last ten years I have been teaching about the hero’s journey and the work of Joseph Campbell in identifying the steps of the hero’s journey. Ten years ago I created a non-linear PowerPoint that connected the steps of the journey to abstracts and photos from Star Wars, scripts written by George Lucas with explicit input from Joseph Campbell. A few years later I has students write their own analyses of Star Wars or The Matrix, sometimes giving oral reports to their classmates on the connections. This year students used a Wikispaces site to show the connections to the hero’s journey of a movie of their own choice, showing the step of the journey through embedded clips and images from the film and explaining the connection in their own words. They learned the steps of the journey and how this framework applies to stories told in many ways around the world, as well as how to edit and create content that is published on the internet.

One of the more interesting changes I have seen over the last decade is the affinity teenagers have for shooting video or taking photos using phones and computers. Whereas I used to have students progress step-by-step through a brainstorming, storyboarding, scripting process for a class film to make the editing easier later on, I now have more students who are used to shooting footage and then immediately posting it to YouTube. Now, before every video making unit we dissect YouTube videos for content, sound, and light quality so students know what will be expected of them. Just because the footage is shot doesn’t mean the video is done.

I try to be creative in my teaching methods and facilitate student goal-setting and learning within the basic framework of the state standards and local curriculum guides. When other teachers do this it helps me know what to expect of the past experience of my students and figure out how to get the students to the next courses successfully. I can easily integrate technology is small ways that help students stretch their skills and imaginations. Students who are used to only using computers to write have been introduced to group collaboration in Google Docs, so they can write and create simultaneously with their groups. Students who love the extra features of their cell phones have been taught to use the phones to keep track of assignments, shoot and edit video, access Moodle and Google Docs, and take pictures of instructions written on the board instead of taking notes. I show them how I incorporate these same strategies and use them in my personal and professional lives.

Smith, K. (2011). What good is world literature?: World literature pedagogy and the rhetoric of moral crisis. College English, 73(6), 585-603.  Retrieved June 23, 2011, from ProQuest Education Journals. (Document ID: 2377888081).

 

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