According to Vega (2013), “Technology tools also have value beyond teaching the core curriculum”. She feels there are three ways to use technology successfully in the classroom. They are 1.” Using technology for Assessment and Customizing Instruction, 2. Collaboration Discussion and Argumentation, and 3. Teaching Digital Literacy” Vega, 2013.
She feels that using technology helps classroom teachers effectively gather, analyze, and act upon student feedback. Using response systems, such as polleverywhere.com, allows the teacher to analyze student’s answers and differentiate instruction and clear up misunderstandings. This type of technology allows students to view responses, discuss, and retake quizzes. This improves students’ understanding of the material and what is expected of them. She feels the response systems are not as important as effective teaching strategies. However, they do provide for checking students’ understanding, clear up misunderstandings, trigger discussions and reflection, gathering information, saving time with instruction, and allows for monitoring peer learning methods.
Vega suggests using blogs to post students’ work samples. She stated that this allowed for students to not be shy with their critiques, and allows for the students to have time to formulate their responses. Teachers reported that this provided for privacy and created a positive blogging experience. Using blogs allows for collaboration, discussion, and argumentation in the classroom. ThinkQuest is one form of on-line blogging that is available to educators for on-line discussions and project sharing.
As we know, digital literacy is a must in today’s global economy. “Digital literacy refers to having fluency with digital hardware and software technologies in order to access, control, and create information, as well as having information literacy skills to ask questions, find and use relevant information, and to critically evaluate the credibility of information on the Web. Both information literacy and fluency in technology are necessary in order to be considered digitally literate” Vega 2013. Vega states that laptop programs have increased students’ digital literacy. She states there are many ways to help facilitate technology in the classroom. Bring your own device (BYOD), contacting Free Geeks, and Donorschoose.org are some of the resources available for schools to provide technology in the classroom.
Vega feels that ensuring students use technology for self-expression, analysis, and collaboration will prepare students to become active participants in emerging global society Vega 2013.
My Reflection: I believe that Vega has a good understanding of what is needed in today’s classrooms. Integrating technology into my lesson plans has been a challenge. It is a challenge that we as educators must take on to equip our students with the necessary tools they will need to survive in today’s global economy. Students need to be able to collaborate and hold carefully thought-out discussions. Most of all, as teachers, we must use the data to drive instruction that will be relevant to our students’ education.
Vega, V. (2013, 2 5). PBL Best Practices: Guide Mobile Devices for Learning. Retrieved 4 18, 2013, from eduTopia: http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-research-tools-programs
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