Cornerstones of Technology Integration, Parts 3 and 4

from Educators' eZine Part 3 Integrate Technology Standards Into All Curricular Areas "I would have never believed how much being fully integrated with technology and Spanish has added to my class. It's like driving a turbo Porsche! Karen has helped me today with digital photographs, Erica and Diana have
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from Educators' eZine

Part 3
Integrate Technology Standards Into All Curricular Areas

"I would have never believed how much being fully integrated with technology and Spanish has added to my class. It's like driving a turbo Porsche! Karen has helped me today with digital photographs, Erica and Diana have included the Spanish culture and I have included research skills and geography...what a perfect fit. Thanks for all your support". — Sixth Grade Social Studies Teacher

One important component of our successful integration of technology has been to remove the computer teacher from the classroom. No longer do we teach technology as a discrete skill remote from the curriculum; now the core curriculum drives the technology. It also allows our computer teacher to team plan as well as team-teach with all the teachers in our building.

Team planning is not only a prelude to team-teaching but an essential component that will significantly increase the success of the students and the teachers. Teachers can look at the lesson from a cross-curricular point-of-view. This total collaborative teaching effort greatly outweighs individual efforts.

This also allows students to learn digital skills on an as-needed basis. We discovered that if we teach a student presentation software as a stand-alone topic, they need to make the connection as to why they are learning it. And if it's taught during the first quarter of the school year but they aren't using it until the fourth quarter, it will need to be re-taught. Instead we connected technology skills to project based assessment. In other words, if a project culminates in a multimedia presentation to the class, the students need to learn this type of software at the same time they learn curriculum content.

Another advantage of having the computer teacher team-teach with the classroom teacher is to create an additional facilitator/teacher. This is most important as the lessons meet the needs of different learning styles. It also creates student facilitators, and it engages more students rather then have them sit idly by until the teacher can assist them. In turn, students are becoming active participants in their learning process rather than passive listeners. This approach gives a new design to the old classroom. Students build on prior knowledge creating a 21st century environment along with a constructivist approach to the lessons.

Likewise, we involve our library/media specialist in the cycle of technology integration. This is another component that has increased the success of our teachers and students. Just like our computer teacher, our library/media specialist team-plans with classroom teachers prior to team-teaching.

Ideally, several weeks prior to starting a technology-integrated unit, classroom teachers contact our library/media specialist. The teachers then discuss the objectives of the unit. This enables the library/media specialist to research before the teachers meet to start the design of the unit. They discuss ways that technology can enhance the teaching and learning process. In many instances, the library/media specialist pulls together resources that students will need to complete a project.

She researches and evaluates Websites and then links them to the teacher's Website and to the library/media center Website. This important component allows students and teachers to investigate and complete assignments from anywhere there is an Internet connection.

In addition, teachers always require hard copy components for class research. The library/media specialist puts together a cart that can be used in conjunction with a portable laptop cart. As the students move ahead with technology research skills, they maintain book skills learned earlier.

Another part of seamless technology integration has occurred recently in our school. Our teachers have been perfecting the use of share-points linked to their Websites. This has not only contributed to anytime learning mentioned earlier but it allows students and teachers to collaborate after school hours and when the students are absent from school. The share-point is secured by a user name and password which adds security that normally a blog cannot provide.

Teachers have noted that the collaboration of the computer teacher and the library/media specialist are factors that have significantly increased the success of their units. In the beginning there was a barrier of getting teachers to use these valuable resources. But once they tried it, they were hooked!

Part 4
Differentiate Instruction with Technology Integration

When properly implemented and driven by the curriculum, seamless integration of technology creates a student-centered, engaged classroom. Technology never takes precedent over the core curriculum but enhances what we want the students to learn. The objectives are still the same. Technology integration not only differentiates instruction but also lends itself to diverse assessment in addition to traditional measurements of student success. This includes authentic project based assessment and cooperative learning.

Proper integration of technology in the classroom naturally differentiates ability level, gender, and interests. By using project-based assessment that allows students to choose from a variety of multimedia options, teachers appeal to students' interests. Examples can be endless.

One that I observed was a World War II project. The eighth-grade students were allowed to choose any reasonable topic that occurred during that time period. One underachieving student chose baseball. When his topic was approved, you could see a raging fire burning inside and out. This particular student became not only engaged but spent many after school hours fine-tuning the process.

His research excelled previous attempts, and the end-product was one of the best in class. He included archived video and audio. He found and showed primary source documents that included original letters and score cards. All of the information was tied together in a unique multimedia presentation to the class.

Integrating technology in this fashion also allows students to move to the right of a grading rubric to differentiate ability level. Likewise, I have witnessed many students of lower ability who strove for that higher achievement because the topic appealed to their interests. As mentioned earlier, the advent of the share-point has not only allowed more collaboration but it allows more learning time for those students that have not had a high level of success in the regular classroom setting. This data has been triangulated through student projects, observation, teacher interviews, and reflective journals.

Technology standards should be intertwined in all curriculum areas rather than taught in isolation. This will engage the students to concentrate on the curriculum rather than on the narrower concepts of hardware and software.

If the curriculum is driving the technology integration, then the learning objectives will be the same. Teachers must keep in mind what they want the students to learn. In most instances, proper planning and execution has led to natural cross-curricular satisfaction of the core curriculum. This is how the effective integration of technology engages students and teachers.

Examples of Cross-Curricular Units that Differentiate

The following unit is an example of a cross-curricular unit for the New Jersey Department of Education designed and completed by our sixth grade social studies teacher. This teacher had been teaching for twenty-five years, and she participated in the peer mentoring component of our technology professional development process. Notice how it encompasses several curriculum areas while satisfying the requirements for technology standards at the same time.

These are some thoughts by the teacher:
The change technology has made in my teaching, my students learning and in my life is remarkable. Be fearless, embrace technology, infuse new technology skills into your lessons; it is like breathing new life not only into your teaching but also into you. So you see, it really is possible to have "everything old new again."

Title: Caribbean Island Adventure

Content Area: Technology & Social Studies
Grade Level: 4-6

Author Information:

Name: Elizabeth Moss
School: Belhaven Middle School
District: Linwood Public Schools
County: Atlantic
Email:ElizabethMoss@linwoodschools.org

Student Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Research Caribbean Islands via the Internet and books.
  2. Research the costs of travel, lodging, eating, and entertainment for a Caribbean vacation.
  3. Prepare a budget using a spreadsheet of costs associated with a trip.
  4. Calculate the number of miles traveled on their vacation.
  5. Describe and illustrate the natural resources of the island they choose.
  6. Describe how the island was formed.
  7. Describe and illustrate through pictures the ethnicity of the island.
  8. Describe the economic system of the island.
  9. Locate and illustrate the island on a map.
  10. Name and illustrate other islands in the same geographical location in the Caribbean.
  11. Describe the weather and the effects of weather on the island, its people, and tourism.
  12. Prepare a presentation using multimedia software.
  13. Give a multi-media presentation.

NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards Content Area Standard Grade Strand CPI Technological Literacy 8.1
8.1
8.1
8.1
8.1
8.1 4
4
8
8
8
8 A
B
A
A
A
B 1-2
7,9
1-9
1-5
7- 10
12
2-8 Social Studies 6.5
6.5
6.5
6.6
6.6
6.6
6.6
6.6 8
8
8
4
4
8
8
8 A
A
A
A
B
A
A
A 1
5
8
1-6
4
1-2
4-9
11 Mathematics 4.5
4.5 4-6
4-6 A
B 1-3
1-2 Visual & Performing Arts 1.2
1.2 4
6 D
D 2
3 Language Arts Literacy 3.1
3.3
3.3
3.3
3.3 5-6
4
5
6
6 A
A
D
A
D 1
1-2
1-7
1-5
1-7

Purpose and Overview:
You are about to travel through a region of beautiful beaches, colorful coral reefs, and steep volcanic mountains. Several chains of islands make up the land of the Caribbean. Some of the islands are just tiny specks on a map but others are big enough to have a large population and growing cities. In this quest, you will read about the many different groups of people that have contributed to the present cultures of the Caribbean islands, a paradise you will want to visit someday.

Instructional Activity:

Plan a Caribbean Island vacation via a Webquest that includes a budget, digital postcard, and multimedia presentation.

Task: Imagine this, you are all grown up and working very hard at your career. Wow, how time flies. It seems like yesterday you were in ___ (Insert teacher's name and class)___ studying the region of the Caribbean. You remember from studying this region that it is a fun, exciting, beautiful and culturally diverse tropical paradise. Now you have decided to take a trip to the Caribbean and you will plan your dream vacation to a Caribbean Island of your choice. Incredible, huh? No problem, "mon". Your vacation will last for 6 days and 5 nights with a budget of $3,000. Get packed, you're on your way...
Procedures: Your trip must include the following: Travel plans to your destination. Will you take a cruise or fly? Include dates of travel. What documents are necessary to enter the country? Do you need a passport? Your hotel. Is it "all inclusive?" How much does it cost? Include your activities...will you go parasailing, tubing, or take a trip through the rainforest. Is there an additional charge for the adventure? What attractions and points of interest will you see? What is special about the island? Is it famous for straw products, wood carvings, gemstones, or coffee? Make an itemized list of expenses for your vacation. The budget should not exceed $3,000.

Your vacation project will include:

1) A spreadsheet calculating all of your expenses. Even include gum and a magazine you purchase in the airport.
2) A multimedia/slide presentation including the following slides in this order:

  • Title slide including island name and your name.
  • Map of the island.
  • Natural resources of the island.
  • Description of the native residents, their ethnicity, and customs. Include pictures.
  • Description of the economic system of the island.
  • Description of a city on the island and its importance.
  • Picture and historical fact about a place you visited.
  • Picture of your resort.
  • Description, with pictures, of things you did on your vacation.
  • Total the distance you traveled: from your house to the airport and back, the airport to the island and back, and the number of miles you traveled on the island.
  • Budget; list all expenses and total costs.
  • Description and picture of local foods you ate.
  • Local music and/or voice over may be embedded in your slide presentation.

3) Oral: In addition to the grading rubric we discussed for this component of the assignment, be prepared to discuss the questions with the class that are listed in the conclusion.
4) A postcard to a friend or family member about your trip.

  • Students will make and "send" picture postcards from places they visited. They will then make computer-generated postcards that show Caribbean buildings, cities, historical sites, natural features or people using a 2-slide format. On the reverse side of the cards, they will write a descriptive note to a classmate telling about a trip to the island they visited. Include information about the climate, history of country, and what you did for fun. Also, describe the picture on the front of the postcard.
  • Students will address the cards to their classmates using the school address.
  • In place of a stamp, students will insert or draw the island's flag.
  • A hard copy will be printed to keep as a souvenir.
  • Set up a classroom mailbox and have students post their cards. Exchange and share postcard information.

Assessment Strategies: Rubric for: Multimedia Slides; Oral Presentation; Digital Postcard; Budget Spreadsheet

CATEGORY

Oral Presentation

15

Well-rehearsed with smooth delivery that holds audience attention.

15

Rehearsed with fairly smooth delivery that holds audience attention most of the time.

10

Delivery not smooth, but able to maintain interest of the audience most of the time.

5

Delivery not smooth and audience attention often lost.

0

Multimedia Slides

35

Covers topic in-depth with details and examples. Subject knowledge is excellent.
Audio is included.

35

Includes essential knowledge about the topic. Subject knowledge appears to be good.

30

Includes essential information about the topic but there are 1-2 factual errors or typos.

25

Content is minimal OR there are several factual errors.

15

Digital Postcard

25

Product shows a large amount of original thought. Ideas are creative and inventive. Includes facts, picture, and description about your trip.

25

Product shows some original thought. Work shows new ideas and insights. Some facts about trip and picture about trip.

20

Uses other people's ideas (giving them credit), but there is little evidence of original thinking. Facts are few and picture lacks originality.

15

Product lacks effort and facts about trip. Did not follow postcard requirements.

10

Budget-Spreadsheet

25

Expenses are listed in detail and are within budget requirements.
A total expense amount is listed.

25

Most expenses are listed and are within budget requirements. A total expense amount is listed.

20

Some expenses are listed and are over budget requirements.
Lacks planning and research.

15

Few expenses are listed and budget is over requirements. Budget not typed in using required format.

10

Conclusion: You have learned that the islands of the Caribbean are a beautiful and culturally diverse region. Also, you have learned that it is not always paradise for the people who live there. Many native Caribbean people struggle to earn a living and to get an education.

What did you learn about this region geographically and culturally? What did you learn about international travel? What did you realize about budgeting money and the expenses involved in traveling? Would you want to visit this area again? Why? How are the Caribbean's music, food, and beaches different from ours?

Additional Information:
Resources:
Connect @ Bellhaven Library Media Center
Yahoo Kids
Caribbean.com
Lonely Planet: Caribbean Islands
Where To Stay.com
Your Caribbean Travel Planner

A special education teacher who has worked in our building for thirty years has contributed to the New Jersey Department of Education as well. She has this to say about one of her technology integrated units:
"This feeling of accomplishment and pride goes a long way. The positive reinforcement that students experience in working through and accomplishing the steps in the process give them the self-efficacy they need to reach their full potential. A multisensory approach to learning is utilized by this unit. Students are practicing fine and gross motor skills while making mobiles to hang in our classroom. They benefit from auditory training through the group reading of the book about Balto, a heroic sled dog. The visual element is well met by the final project presentation and the Webcam's.

Title: The Iditarod

Content Area: Technology & Language Arts
Grade Level: 5-6

Author Information

Name: Judy Branin
School: Belhaven Middle School
District: Linwood Public Schools
County: Atlantic
Email:JudyBranin@linwoodschools.org

Student Learning Objectives:
Students will be able to:

  1. Read the book Balto, the story of the famous sled dog.
  2. Locate and print a map of Alaska from the Internet.
  3. Research the state of Alaska via the Internet.
  4. Complete an Internet scavenger hunt about the Iditarod dogsled race.
  5. Complete research via the Internet about a veteran, and a rookie dog sled musher competing in the Iditarod.
  6. Create and maintain an electronic database on their mushers.
  7. Access and read a daily update of the Iditarod Dogsled Race via the Internet.
  8. Email Zuma on the Iditarod Website with at least one question about the Iditarod. (Zuma is an Alaskan Husky found at iditarod.com who writes specifically for school children.)
  9. Keep a daily record of their mushers' progress in the Iditarod using a spreadsheet.
  10. Create a multimedia presentation about their Iditarod project.
  11. Give an oral presentation using their multimedia project.

NJ Core Curriculum Content Standards

Content Area

Standard

Grade

Strand

CPI

Technological Literacy

8.1

4

A

1-

Technological Literacy

8.1

4

B

7,9

Technological Literacy

8.1

8

A

1-9

Technological Literacy

8.1

8

A

1-5

Technological Literacy

8.1

8

A

7-

Technological Literacy

8.1

8

B

10,12,1-8

Language Arts Literacy

3.1

5

C

2-4

Language Arts Literacy

3.1

5

D

1-5

Language Arts Literacy

3.1

5

G

1-

Language Arts Literacy

3.1

5

H

17

Language Arts Literacy

3.3

5

D

1-8,1-10

Social Studies

6.6

4

A

1,3

Mathematics

4.5

5

A

1-3

Mathematics

4.5

5

B

1-2

Purpose and Overview:

The purpose of this lesson is for students to read a book of nonfiction and use the internet for research, as well as create an electronic database.

Instructional Activity:
Teacher Introduction: Building Background Knowledge
The Iditarod is a dogsled race that is run every year. It begins in Anchorage, Alaska, on the first Saturday in March and ends 1,049 miles away in Nome, Alaska. The race takes the mushers and their dog teams from nine to fourteen days to complete. Teacher should hand out a one-to-two page article describing this race and ask students to complete a graphic organizer in order to make connections to prior knowledge (e.g., K-W-L Chart).
Student Task:
Using the Internet to gather information you will:

  1. Print a map of Alaska.
  2. Choose a rookie and a veteran musher.
  3. Compile facts about your two mushers.
  4. Keep track of your two mushers' progress on a daily basis.
  5. Answer the fact sheet about the Iditarod and Alaska.
  6. Write and send e-mail letter to Zuma.
  7. Create a presentation to show what you have learned.
  8. Give an oral presentation to the class.

Note: Teachers should carefully supervise students while using the Internet.
Procedures:
One week before the start of the Iditarod Dogsled Race (always the first Saturday in March)...

  1. Students will read the book Balto, (Boning, 1989), discuss the story, find Anchorage and Nome on a map of Alaska, and answer the questions at the end of the book. Teacher may elect to group students to participate in literature circles to work cooperatively on group project. (see reference book Harvey Daniels, Literature Circles).
  2. Students should choose a rookie and a veteran dogsled musher by taking turns and drawing randomly the names from a hat.
  3. Using the Iditarod Webquest, students research their mushers and fill out the database.

When the race is in progress (about two weeks)...

  1. Using the Iditarod Webquest, students keep a daily record on a spreadsheet of their mushers' daily progress, entering such data as: time and date he or she reached a checkpoint; time and date he or she left the checkpoint; how many dogs he or she had at arrival; and how many dogs at departure. The spreadsheet will calculate time spent at rest and number of dogs left behind.
  2. Using the Iditarod Webquest, students answer questions about the race.
  3. Using the Iditarod Webquest, students answer questions about the state of Alaska.
  4. Together as a group, students read a daily race update and interesting race tidbits provided by the teacher, who prints them from Zuma's daily postings.
  5. Using the Iditarod Webquest, students locate and print a map of Alaska showing the trail of the Iditarod race for that year. (The trail varies according to whether it is an even or odd- numbered year.)
  6. Each student formulates one question and E-mails it to Zuma.
  7. Using the Internet (if the time is right), students can then watch a musher crossing over the finish line in Nome with Webcams provided by Iditarod.

When the race is over...

  1. Using multimedia software, students will create a multimedia, slide presentation about what he or she has learned while following the Iditarod Dogsled Race.
  2. Using the data base of mushers, students can sort the information in a number of ways (e.g., age, number of years mushing, purse money won).
  3. Then using the spreadsheet of mushers' daily progress, students determine who among them "won" the race.
  4. Students should keep all electronic materials in their network folders and all hardcopy papers in their project folders.

Assessment Strategies: Scoring Rubric

Evaluation: Assessment #1
Students will be evaluated by this point scale:

Map

5 points

Mushers’ profiles database

10 points

Mushers’ daily progress spreadsheet

20 points

Questions form the race

10 points

E-mail to Zuma (under teacher supervision)

10 points

Multimedia Slides

20 points

Oral Presentation

25 points

Total

100 points

Additional Information:
Boning, C. R. (1989). Balto. Baldwin, NY, Barnell Loft, Ltd.
Harter, L. (2002). Iditarod Activities for the Classroom. Wasilla, AK, Iditarod Trail Committee, Inc.
Iditarod
Cabella's Iditarod 2007

CATEGORY

4

3

2

1

Oral Presentation

25

Well-rehearsed with smooth delivery that holds audience attention.

25

Rehearsed with fairly smooth delivery that holds audience attention most of the time.

20

Delivery not smooth, but able to maintain interest of the audience most of the time.

15

Delivery not smooth and audience attention often lost.

10

Multimedia Slides

20

Covers topic in-depth with details and examples. Subject knowledge is excellent. Audio is included.

20

Includes essential knowledge about the topic. Subject knowledge appears to be good.

15

Includes essential information about the topic but there are 1-2 factual errors or typos.

10

Content is minimal OR there are several factual errors.

0

E-Mail to Zuma

10

Two or more references to the race with excellent formatting and sentence structure.

10

Includes complete sentences with no errors and at least one reference to the race.

8

Includes complete sentences but there are 1-2 typos with little knowledge reference.

5

Includes grammatical errors and misspelled words with incomplete sentences.

0

Questions about the race

10

All questions are answered correctly in complete sentences.

10

All questions are answered in complete sentences with one or two incorrect.

8

At least two questions are incorrect and not all answers are in complete sentences.

5

No questions are completed.

0

Mushers' Database

10

Includes facts, picture, and all fields are properly completed.

10

Includes one fact and all fields are properly filled in.

8

Not all fields are properly filled in.

5

Less than half of the fields are properly filled in.

0

Musher's Spreadsheet

20

Dates and times are listed in detail and all dogs are accounted for with a final report.

20

Most dates and times are listed and dogs are accounted for with a final report.

15

Some dates and times are listed. Not all dogs are accounted for and the final report is incomplete.

10

Few dates and times are listed. Not all dogs are accounted for and the final report is not in the proper format.

5

Map

5

The map is labeled, colorful, and the race route is clearly indicated.

5

The map is labeled and the race route is indicated.

4

Just an outline of the map is handed in.

2

The map is not handed in.

0

These units provide us with several examples of the benefits that proper technology integration can bring to the classroom. First, the teachers were able to infuse units with technology that allowed their students to think critically. The prelude to the production of these units was a well-thought professional development plan that broke down barriers and allowed the teachers to take creative risks. They were supported by colleagues and administration at every level.

In addition to ability, interest, gender, and assessment, by seamlessly integrating technology, the teachers differentiated instruction in ways that naturally appealed to different types of learners or a combination of learning styles.

The diversification of the requirements within these units satisfies all learners. The visual learner is satisfied through a variety of teacher demonstration, Internet opportunities that include research, real-time Webcams, technology skills, digital photographs, clipart, Webcams, and limitless other opportunities.

The auditory learner benefits from reading out loud. Public speaking is included in everyone's oral presentation to the class. Some students include sound bytes with their multimedia presentation discovered through collaboration with other students. Additionally, many of the Websites include an audio component as do real-time sites. When the students use the wireless laptop cart, the word-processing software includes an audio output of the keyed words for those that require it.

Tactile/kinesthetic learners benefit from the well-rehearsed smooth delivery in students' oral presentations. Multimedia discovery using hands-on, just-in-time technology integration benefits these learners as well. In some instances, students become facilitators to other students. Combinations of the requirements appeal to those students that possess a mixture of learning styles.

Conclusion

Remember, great technology does not make a great teacher. Great teachers go into the profession with a passion. They are committed to affording every student the opportunity to reach his/her full potential. This includes continually fine-tuning the process.

We found in our school that fine-tuning the process includes creating a world inside our building that the outside world has already created. This environment is a technological global society. By empowering teachers, we empower students.

Meaningful technology integration raises the students to higher levels of critical thinking, problem solving, and communication. Students that would not normally become successful have been inspired in our classrooms by their teachers that have given them opportunities to succeed and travel to locations they previously did not have access to.

Teachers who have already inspired their students without the use of digital technology integration have taken their repertoire to higher levels by using this tool. By raising the bar for yourself, you raise the bar for the people around you: colleagues and students alike.

Stage five of our professional development continuum encourages teachers to present at conferences. As an administrator it is thrilling to witness the confidence of our presenters and the reactions of the participants when we facilitate a breakout session at local, state, and national conferences. As much as possible, we try to bring a student to model one of their projects. This allows educators to see the end result.

One of our seventh grade language arts teachers sums up her 21st Century classroom:

"Imagine a classroom with every student activity engaged in learning. Each is so immersed into his/her own project they hardly notice when the bell rings for dismissal. The gifted and talented student and the special education student are in the same classroom working on the same assignment, both equally challenged yet working at their own level. It sounds like a dream, but in my class it has become a reality due to the infusion of technology".

Email:Frank Rudensky

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