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Reflections on Educational Technology The Growth of an Educator

Justin Raisner English and Journalism Teacher Carlmont High School Belmont, California October 2012

INTRODUCTION I am Justin Raisner, and English and Journalism teacher in California, and I have long been an advocate for the use of technology in educational settings. I decided to pursue my Masters degree in this field so that I could not only justify my feelings about EDTECH, but also so that I could learn and apply new skills to my teaching. Over the past three years of my coursework, I feel that I have accomplished that and become a more dynamic teacher in the process. This paper is a discussion of the artifacts I have used to display the work I have done while working towards my Masters of Educational Technology at Boise State University. The paper is organized by each AECT standard with links to the associated content and explanations of how the evidence meets the standard.

STANDARD 1: DESIGN

1.1 Instructional Systems Design During my EDTECH 503 course, I was given the task of designing a full lesson that applied research based theory to my design. My completed project is located at this link: Instructional Design Paper EDTECH 503. I have used this lesson twice now since designing it, and it has worked well (albeit with modifications made each time). This project demonstrates learner needs assessment and analysis, lesson design around that analysis, development of the lesson and skills, implementation of the

skills into a project, and an evaluation of the learning as well as the lesson. One great thing I took out of that project was One item that I found very useful, was a statement that seems very simple and obvious. The classroom text included a section on analyzing the learning task, and it was interesting to think that ...in order to ascertain what learners have learned, we must determine what kind of evidence of learning we will accept as an indication that learning has occurred (Smith and Regan p. 97). It seems obvious that assessment should be connected to the learning task, but often in high school, tests are given that dont specifically relate to learning goals.

1.2 Message Design During my EDTECH 506 class, we learned to design graphics that would effectively convey information to students. The graphics and explanation of the principles applied can be found in the following paper: Lesson design justification EDTECH 506 During my EDTECH 513 course, I learned about how to best craft presentations for classes using research-based techniques. I was so impressed with what I learned that I created a presentation for my own students using those principles about how to apply those principles. You can view that presentation here: Presentation on Presentations EDTECH513 This presentation demonstrates and explains the coherence principle. The coherence principle suggests that educators need to limit the amount of extraneous materials as they design their instruction. This means that lessons should avoid extra graphics, words, animation, and sounds that are not supporting the actual intent of the lesson.

Specifically, as an educator, you should avoid adding and material that does not support the instructional goal (Clark & Mayer, 2008, p. 151). By including extra items, the learning goal can become muddied and unclear to those receiving the lesson. Furthermore, extra input can distract the learners or overload their ability to process the important information. Also of note is the research suggesting that low-ability learners are more susceptible to these distractions, so it is even more important to consider the coherence principle with this type of learner. Interestingly enough, one of the most effective examples of the coherence principle in action that worked well was done by my own ninth grade students. The task of the small group was to present background information on a specific myth. This group created a very clean, simple-looking presentation of images that they narrated for the class. There were no words on the slides, and there was no music or other extraneous information. It was brief, clear, and to the point. The class loved it and seemed to retain the information well. This worked well because the students developed a presentation that fully (serendipitously) incorporated not only the coherence principle, but also the modality principle. Rather than fully embellished textual or narrative descriptions, [the students were able to] stick to basic and concise descriptions of the content. It also helps implement the modality principle effectively (Clark & Mayer, 2008, p. 167). The coherence principle is in-line with the ideas presented by the modality and redundancy principles. It boils down to the idea of less (albeit highly focused and relevant) being more when it comes to presenting information. Too much information is overwhelming. When processing capacity is used to process the music and sounds,

there is less capacity available for processing the narration, organizing it into a coherent cause-and-effect chain, and linking it with the incoming visual information. Based on this theory, we can predict that adding interesting music and sounds to a multimedia presentation will hurt students' learning. (Moreno & Mayer, 2000). What is interesting about the coherence principle is that it is somewhat counterintuitive to some peoples schools of thought regarding student engagement. One such example is arousal theory which suggests that students will be more engaged in learning if they are provided more interesting effects and sounds (Clark & Mayer, 2008, p. 156). However, the cognitive theory of multimedia learning assumes that working memory capacity is highly limited (Clark & Mayer, 2008, p. 156 ). Although students might get more excited about a learning task if it is spiced up with effects, the ability of them to focus on the intended learning outcomes becomes compromised and diminished. Furthermore, the auditory split-attention principle suggests that learners are more likely to make appropriate connections between animations and narrations when there is not much additional auditory information presented, such as environmental sounds and background music. (Mayer, 1999) Once again, effective learning happens when less information is presented.

1.3 Instructional Strategies Two of my projects that demonstrate effective sequencing of events and activities for lessons are highlighted here:

Design unit: EDTECH 506 was created to teach journalism students the basics of design over the course of several lessons. Each step of the lesson builds upon the previous one and includes activities that both assess and lead to new knowledge. I also designed this webquest that allows and directs students through several links towards discovering knowledge about what protections and limitations they will have: WebQuest: EDTECH 502 The WebQuest is an effective self-directed learning activity where the teacher pre-selects materials for students to explore online and allows students to interact with these materials. The popular Webquest concept utilizes a template designed to provide students with the opportunity to access and work with a range of online resources to explore and answer meaningful and significant questions (Doolittle & Hicks, 2003, p. 87). Because these activities have open areas for student exploration, they are able to focus on materials that are of interest to them and direct their own learning. Although the teacher will have provided a learning outcome, the teacher also provides several avenues for students to arrive at that outcome. To design an editorial policy, students need to have an understanding of issues that have occurred in the past. By researching this information, students will be able to make an informed judgement about what to include in an editorial policy.

1.4 Learner Characteristics It is important to understand the needs of each individual learner while designing a lesson. I have examples of the work I did here: Needs Assessment results: EDTECH 503 (from my Instructional Design Project)

While designing my Adobe InDesign lesson, I included a formal needs assessment. This is an important part of any lesson that includes technology because assuming a learner can do something he or she cannot can easily derail even the most effective designs. The result of this survey was that I modified my lesson to include more vocabulary development of the skills they were learning. The lesson worked very well in practice, and I have delivered it three times now to students with positive results. I also created a Relative Advantage Chart: EDTECH 541 of challenges that can be addressed and overcome with technology. There are many resources that can be used to assist students excel. For example, By setting up a social network for students to use, they can be tasked with blogging. One effective assignment is asking students to assume the role or point of view of one character from story and create a blog. These blogs (or microblogs) are visible to other class members who can comment on it and gain insights by reading what others have written. They are interactive, Constructivist, and they allow students to check for understanding before class the next day. STANDARD 2: DEVELOPMENT

2.1 Print Technologies During my coursework for EDTECH 506, I created several materials for students to use during instruction. The Graphic Organizer: EDTECH 506 is designed for students to take notes during instruction so they can match each area of the newspaper with the proper jargon as it is introduced. When I used this with my students, they were all able to complete the handout with 100% accuracy and were able to use proper newspaperspeak during class.

Scaffolding with graphic organizers is a powerful instructional strategy that supports student learning. One study done on 9th grade writing reported that [a]s a result of scaffolding the process of writing a research paper, students developed a better understanding of what it means to locate and to integrate scholarly. They also learned how to organize their time and resources. Overall, most students were able to complete the assignment successfully. Approximately ninety-six percent of participants (43 of 45) completed the process of writing a research paper. Based on reflections of previous semesters, this represented an increase (Huggins & Edwards 2011, p. 34).
This Handout: EDTECH 506 was used with a lecture to supplement a discussion in

class and introduce graphic design criticism. The importance of this was that students had a reference that went beyond the few moments of class time to remind them of what they saw in class.

2.2 Audiovisual Technologies I created a video during EDTECH 513 that explained the second set of prophecies received in Macbeth. The video was created following the guidelines of the personalization principle as well as the redundancy and coherence principles. To make this story, I began with an outline of a script. Then, I compiled images that could be used to convey the ideas and complement the narration. I used Windows sound recorder to create several short audio clips of the narration. I used Windows Movie Maker to compile all the story elements and export to YouTube. During EDTECH 521, I created another video (Inverted Pyramid Video: EDTECH 521) in Camtasia that introduced the Inverted Pyramid style of news writing. When I

used this with my class, they were riveted to the smartboard and they all scored 80% or above on the assessment after watching. Using the videos to supplement instruction is an effective way to deliver short bursts of content for students. Both of the videos were designed with the Modality and Redundancy Principles as guiding design factors. The Modality Principle suggests that overwhelming use of text along with narration actually hinders learning. This is because words on screen combined with narration overloads the visual channel and reduces learning. Furthermore, the Redundancy Principle states that people learn better from animation and narration than from animation, narration, and on-screen text. When you say the same thing as what a presentation states, you are violating the redundancy principle. The Cognitive Theory of Multimedia Learning is that learners have separate information processing channels one for visual and one for auditory processing. However, the capacity of these channels is limited. Graphics and on-screen text compete for bandwidth of the visual channel. Therefore, the assumption that adding more improves learning may not be accurate. Research suggests that achieving the proper balance of information for each input channel (auditory and visual) will yield the best results. It also suggests that overloading the channels by adding text to match what the narration says is likely to overload the input capacity and lessen learning outcomes.

2.3 Computer-Based Technologies One of the first activities I did with the Educational Technology program at BSU was to create a learning log on Wordpress. This was a really simple but powerful

activity for making a website to showcase my work. For my portfolio, I am including my EDTECH 542 learning log as an example. According to research done by McCrindle, A. R.; C.A. Christensen (1995) journals and learning logs are likely to increase metacognition through students becoming more aware of their own thought processes. Not only has this helped me as a learner, but as I have introduced blogging to my students, they have become more aware of what they are learning and how they are doing. Blogging has become a big part of my teaching now, and I foresee that it will continue to be so in the future. Wordpress has been very easy to use, and it has enough features to look like a professionally coded website. After creating my learning log, I then had my journalism students set up the school news website through Wordpress. They "Add Posts" to put in new content, and the categories tell the content where to appear (Sports, Entertainment, Featured News, etc.). The website can be found here. One nice thing about Wordpress is that it does allow the inclusion of html code, so you can customize the look of the website more. In a lot of ways, it seems easier to use Wordpress to quickly throw together a website than to use Dreamweaver. This is especially true if there is a lot of content that needs to be updated fairly regularly. And it is even more useful when there are multiple contributors. The blogging platform is very robust for website creation. Another benefit of the blogging platform is the ability to easily embed content into posts. In one of my class blogs for my students that I host on mrraisner.com, I embedded a Google calendar for students to access. I also have embedded a twitter

feed so I can give quick updates. It is a really easy way to have a class resource page through the blog. Not only does this demonstrate how materials are produced online, but it also is a way for delivering content. In addition to collecting a portfolio through a learning log, materials can easily be delivered via blogging software to update students on lessons and ideas. This can include not only text-based information, but also video, audio, and dynamic presentations. Additionally, I created a lesson for using spreadsheets (Spreadsheet Lesson: EDTECH 541) . By using the spreadsheet to track this information, students can easily refer to and find information that they read early in the book. Also, the students can use the spreadsheet to create charts to visually represent the degree to which each character displays a trait. Since the reading of the novel occurs over a five week span, the use of the spreadsheet helps students organize data. When I used it with my students, they had a much easier time of finding information that earlier students.

2.4 Integrated Technologies During EDTECH 513, I created a podcast that provides quick tips for teaching journalism to students, and quick tips for students hoping to improve their craft. The focus of this podcast was story ideas, the use of jargon, and helping kids figure out how to write better. The ideas included are easy to understand and easy to implement. Easy, effective tips will make teaching this subject much easier. Here is a link to the podcast. This podcast is an example of actually using technology to deliver content. This meets the AECT standards 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4 as it demonstrates not only competence in using

the computer hardware and software to create this, but it also demonstrates that as an instructor, I could utilize these skills and technologies. Online communication is a key element of online teaching. According to Rice (2012), online discussion can be divided into two main groups: (1) those used primarily for asynchronous, or delayed-time, communications, and (2) those used primarily for synchronous, or real-time, communications (Rice, 2012, p. 48). Any sort of timedelayed communication or interaction then is considered asynchronous. The first requirement of this communication is that the instructor needs to be very clear with directions so that the readers can easily understand. A clear advantage of this type of communication is that it allows students the chance to pause and review items that they may have missed.

STANDARD 3: UTILIZATION

3.1 Media Utilization I created a Virtual Field Trip to Scotland that highlights key locations in Shakespeares Macbeth: Virtual Fieldtrip: EDTECH 502. By completing this activity, students get a sense of the setting as well as multimedia that provides a much more immersive experience for introducing the play. For my final project in Edtech 513, I created a worked example screencast called "MLA Format instructions" that demonstrates to students how to set up their papers properly for English class. This is an important thing that students struggle with. Not only is it one of the California Content Standards that they need to master in 9th through 12th grade, but it is a skill that is expected by colleges.

In my experience, students often struggle with how to do these things when they are at home in front of their computers in spite of having taken notes of how to set up their papers. By having this visual guide available to them, they will be able to replicate the steps and correctly format their papers. The video is here: MLA Format instructions: (I recommend you set it to 1080p and view full screen). This turned out to be a great resource for students. Rice (2011) wrote of the benefits of [v]isual demonstrations of course tools and/or content when students need direct instruction: ..., the teacher used the video feature to demonstrate the respiratory process with a press-and-seal bag. In this case, the lesson replicated what takes place in a traditional classroom demonstration, so the video component was essential (Rice, 2011, p.55). In the case of my students, the video was a replica of what had been demonstrated in the classroom, but they were able to see it again at home when they were in front of their computers and could apply the lessons. I chose Adobe Captivate to create this video. It was very intuitive, and it was easy to make edits to the audio or video. I recommend that for anyone who is going to making worked examples consistently.

3.2 Diffusion of Innovations During EDTECH 541, I developed presentations that could be used in my school to help promote adoption of Educational Technology. The examples explain the relative advantages of using Education Technology and can be delivered at any time.
English Social Studies Art

English Language Learners

Teachers often resist transitional changes to their areas of expertise. It is no different with English Language Arts teachers. This is one of the biggest challenges with integrating technology into the curriculum. Teachers focus on what they have done for years - mainly teaching old school writing and literacy. However, the definition of literacy has changed dramatically over the years already. Whereas once literacy meant a person being able to "sign your name" (Roblyer & Doering 2010, p.279), it has evolved throughout the last century and into this one. Teachers need to be convinced to accept this new literacy concept. The argument must be made that it is as important to teach students to use 21st century literacy skills like the Internet and social media as it is to analyze the themes in 18th century novels. Roblyer and Doering (2010) even state "It is critical that students learn how to learn new literacy technologies" (Roblyer & Doering 2010, p. 279). They also suggest that "Traditional definitions of . . . instruction . . . will be insufficient" (p. 279). Another issue with technology use in English is the need for students to be able to type effectively. Since it is generally not a skill that is taught in schools, keyboarding can affect how well a student can complete assignments with a computer. Although it is an important skill, keyboarding should not be a barrier to preventing technology use. There is no denying the need for the skill, and Roblyer and Doering (2010) suggest that teachers provide ". . . keyboarding instruction if it is available and needed" but not to prevent "students from using the computer if they do not yet have good keyboarding skills" (p. 280).

During my first course in the program, I investigated several professional development models that could be used. The link to that research is here: Professional Development Models EDTECH501.

3.3 Implementation and Institutionalization In Project Based Learning (PBL), students go through an extended process of inquiry in response to a complex question, problem, or challenge. (Buck Institute for Education 2012). These are done through challenging projects that are heavily planned by instructors. The main goal for students is that they ask questions, look for answers, and figure out answers that lead to new ideas. This is different from Problem Based learning where students are focused on Working in groups, students identify what they already know, what they need to know, and how and where to access new information that may lead to resolution of the problem (Wikipedia 2012). Essentially, Problem Based Learning is focused on using what students know, whereas Project Based Learning is focused on how to figure out what they dont know. I created this project https://sites.google.com/site/raisnerinfographic/home during my EDTECH 542 class. I actually delivered this lesson to my students during the first week of school this year, and I was amazed not only by the quality of the products they completed, but also by the engagement. Teachers should use Project Based Learning because it is better for the students. Not only are students able to gain a deeper understanding of the concepts and standards (Buck Institute for Education 2012), but they also learn skills that are

important for the modern workplace. Essentially, this learning style allows students to take more control of their learning and of learning how to learn. According to the Buck Institute for Education, the essential components of instruction are collaboration, communication & critical thinking. Students need to use higher-order thinking skills and learn to work as a team. They must listen to others and make their own ideas clear when speaking, be able to read a variety of material, write or otherwise express themselves in various modes, and make effective presentations. The PBL approach focuses on multiple skills to complete assignments, and does so in a genuine, authentic way. Furthermore, Larmer and Mergendollar (2010), identified seven essential components of Project Based Learning: A need to know. With a compelling student project, the reason for learning relevant material becomes clear. A driving question. A good driving question captures the heart of the project in clear, compelling language, which gives students a sense of purpose and challenge Student voice and choice. Students can decide what products they will create, what resources they will use, and how they will structure their time. 21st century skills. A project build 21st century skills as collaboration, communication, critical thinking. Inquiry and innovation. Students find project work more meaningful if they conduct real inquiry where they follow a trail that begins with their own

questions, leads to a search for resources and the discovery of answers, and ... drawing their own conclusions. Feedback and revision. Students need to learn that most peoples first attempts dont result in high quality and that revision is a frequent feature of real world work A publicly presented product. Giving students an authentic audience will motivate them to create a product that will showcase what they have learned. (Larmer and Mergendollar, 2010) To effectively create a project that meets these criteria, a teacher must plan effectively with a genuine question that will engage a students need to know, and it must have an educational purpose. I believe that because I designed a quality project that had the above components, the students were very engaged in the work, and delivered very high quality infographics for the school newspaper.

3.4 Policies and Regulations It is important for students to be informed not only of rules for online behavior, but also of legal issues that can affect them. I created Netiquette: EDTECH 502 to address students needs to be informed of proper online behavior. To address legal issues, I created Copyright Scavenger Hunt: EDTECH 502. By completing the Scavenger Hunt, students become informed of their legal obligations while dealing with online sources.

STANDARD 4: MANAGEMENT

4.1 Project Management Both Design unit: EDTECH 506 and Project Based Learning: EDTECH 542 demonstrate planning, monitoring, and controlling instructional design and development projects. The Design Unit is a self-contained web-based lesson that includes several lessons for completing the project. During the PBL project, Students develop a question based on a newsworthy topic and find polling data that answers that question. Based on these data, students create a visually-appealing infographic that represents that data graphically. This project takes place over a two week span, and both are evidence of strong project management. Barron & Darling-Hammon (2008) found that students who engage in this PBL environment benefit from gains in factual learning that are equivalent or superior to those of students who engage in more traditional approaches. I believe that PBL is a perfect fit for my teaching style. I truly enjoy interacting with students, and that teaching is about getting students to figure out things rather than memorize facts. I believe the proverb Give a man a fish, and he eats for a day; teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime, applies to my teaching philosophy. We are in the business of teaching students how to figure out things for themselves.

4.2 Resource Management To address questions of how technology works, I created a Virtual Field Trip of a Computer network to help inform students. This can be found here: Networking Field Trip EDTECH541. This was designed to inform students about the resources they will

be using. It also demonstrates my understanding of network management and the ability to control and support these systems. The process of creating a Tech Use Plan during EDTECH 501 really did open my eyes to some of the issues that schools face when trying to integrate technology. Even when trying to do the right thing, and providing a lot of funding and resources, a tech plan can fail if not properly implemented. For example, our school has provided Smartboards and fast Internet to each classroom. However, having the tools does not automatically make a person a carpenter. It is the same with technology - since our school failed to provide ongoing support and training, only a few teachers have become proficient in the use of the Smartboards. Therefore, while creating a technology use plan, it is critically important to plan for ongoing training, support, and evaluation of the users. Training needs to be tailored and individualized so that all teachers become competent and comfortable using new technology in the classroom. Providing support through staff development, training, and follow up assistance will help teachers overcome their objections to using technology and may help them excel at using it (Becker & Riel, 2000).

4.3 Delivery System Management Evidence of controlling 'the method by which distribution of instructional materials is organized' . . . is this lesson - Newswriting Asynchronous Lesson: EDTECH 521. I designed it to be delivered asynchronously, and I had students complete this when was away while a substitute ran the class. I was extremely pleased when I saw checked my

smartphone and saw students successfully completing tasks in the lesson while I was not present as the teacher. This also demonstrates the Constructivist approach of learning with a studentcentered approach of students working in group environments. The students build upon knowledge they have learned in a realistic context and interact with one another to help each other succeed. Constructivism requires that teachers become facilitators of knowledge, not conduits. Students, then, learn best when they are socially interacting within an authentic situation that is relevant to their prior knowledge and goals, and that fosters autonomous and self-directed functioning (Doolittle & Hicks, 2003, p. 84).

4.4 Information Management To help students learn how to better utilize the Internet as a resource for learning, I designed this lesson for evaluating the credibility of the information they find. This is Internet Integration EDTECH541. This demonstrates the importance of checking sources on the Internet and processing the information found critically instead of passively accepting what students read. I have used this lesson several times and it has been a very useful tool with 9th graders to teach them the importance of critically thinking about the information they receive. Roblyer and Doering (2010) suggest that Students need instruction in processing information and sorting out bias and inaccuracies (p. 280). This is one of the most important reasons to teach students how to process information. Students should be taught how to determine what is accurate for themselves.

STANDARD 5: EVALUATION

5.1 Problem Analysis It is important to gather information about learners to help guide instruction. One of the examples of this was during my Instructional Design Project: Needs Assessment results: EDTECH 503. I used these data to modify my lesson and address the shortcoming of my learners knowledge. This proved to be a very beneficial task as students were more successful in completing the end product because of the additional added instruction earlier in the lesson. Conrad and Donaldson (2011) suggest that reflection can provide insight for instructors on their teaching and for students on their learning. Reflective feedback allows instructors to evaluate the effectiveness of the students experiences in the course. This information can be used to continually modify the course to better meet not only the stated learning objectives but also the needs of learners. In addition, reflection allows students to gain insight into their individual activity outcomes and apply that knowledge to their learning experience (loc. 1460)

5.2 Criterion-Referenced Measurement I also make a habit of developing specific measurement tools for determining my students learning of the skills being taught. Three examples are listed below: Newswriting Rubric: EDTECH 521 Infographic Rubric: EDTECH 542 Webquest Rubric: EDTECH 502 Rubrics can be extremely helpful so students have a roadmap of expectations for an assignment. The creation of activity rubrics can be time-consuming but is well worth the effort, because both the learner and teacher expectations are better met when

evaluation criteria are provided at the time a task is assigned. A rubric clearly specifies the expectations for the activity and the effort required by the student... (Conrad & Donaldson, 2011, loc 564). I attempt to create an easy-to-understand, but comprehensive, rubric for each major assignment so students can be better informed about the expectations.

5.3 Formative and Summative Evaluation Formative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information as a basis for further development. Summative evaluation involves gathering information on adequacy and using this information to make decisions about utilization. In both of the projects I developed this past summer, I included evaluation plans that not only guide instruction, but also have measures of student learning: Evaluation Plan: EDTECH 542 Evaluation Plan: EDTECH 521 Both of these include Peer Review as a component of the Formative Assessment. According to researcher Shieh Ruey, Peer review, which is the one way of eliciting constructive feedback among learners, is considered not only to increase students critical thinking skills, but also to promote a higher-level grading function for the instructor (Ruey, 2010, p. 718).

5.4 Long-Range Planning During EDTECH 505, I evaluated a program implemented by our school district.
DII Implementation Evaluation: EDTECH 505 is evidence of a critical look at a system

designed for long term improvement of CST scores. The report was not asked for by

the district, but I did present my findings. Although the report was dubious of the effectiveness of the program, it did identify ways in which it could be effective. The school district has since backed away from global implementation of these strategies and instead asked that they be used on learners who need more direct support. The findings of our research confirmed what David Jonassen suggests in his research on Activity Theory against the backdrop of Student Centered Learning Environments (SCLEs). He did this by describing the SCLE, the components and assumptions of Activity Theory, and analyzing the learning environment to assess its effectiveness. Jonassens research focused on a SCLE of third-year operations management students in a college of business. He found that . . . the richer the context and the more embedded the conscious thought processes are in that content, the more meaning that learners will construct both for the activities and the thought processes (Jonassen, 2000, p. 109). The implementation of Direct Interactive Instruction in our school district is extremely teacher-centered. Jonassen noted an interesting contradiction in his study that seems to apply to what happened at our district. Although the activities are set up well, there is a disconnect between intended learning results and the actual learning. Students forgot things, seemed unwilling to try to solve problems, and have difficulty applying the skills learned. He suggests that because students have been programmed that . . . the real object of learning is comprehension and memorization. . . (Jonassen, 2000, p. 118), it is difficult to push students to think critically and become better problem-solvers. This is very similar to what is happening in our school district as we program students to be

better test takers instead of critical thinkers. Fortunately, the administrators at our school district have been made aware of this disconnect between intent and results, and they are slowly moving back towards embracing thinking skills as something important for our students.

CONCLUSION During my EDTECH 504 coursework, I wrote that Educational Technology is an evolving field because both education and technology are evolving. What was cutting edge five years ago may be obsolete today. As technology evolves, an effective educator will evolve with it to deliver effective, relevant content to his or her learners. The implementation of Educational Technology requires practitioners to decide what technology fits in their classrooms and to explore best practices and change elements that do not work. In doing so we can meet students needs as learners so that they can find their own understanding and take ownership of the learning process. The importance of using technology cannot be ignored. Research has proven the benefits of technology use in the classroom, so it is up to the educators to continue to evolve, experiment, and take chances so that the learners have the best possible chance to interact with concepts and create the optimal learning outcomes. I also discovered that . . . students must develop the ability to use technology as a tool in the pursuit of large, meaningful questions, providing resources, stimulating thought, challenging ideas, and fostering understanding (Doolittle & Hicks, 2003, p. 90). Once students are able to do these things, they will be effectively constructing learning for themselves using educational technology. It is important to note that this does

require the teacher to effectively understand and set up technology that creates a solid constructivist environment for student learning. I believe that I have learned how to create effective technology-based lessons for my students that will allow me to be a more effective teacher now and in the future. Even once I have completed my work here at Boise State University for my Masters of Educational Technology, I will continue to adapt and evolve with technology and strive to continue providing dynamic learning opportunities for my students.

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