Technology and its Discontents

Developing information literacy, technology skills (in students):

The Michigan Educational Technology Standards for grades K-5 state that, "Technology literacy is the ability to responsibly use appropriate technology to communicate, solve problems, and access, manage, integrate, evaluate, and create information to improve learning in all subject areas and to acquire lifelong knowledge and skills in the 21st century."  To develop information literacy students need to learn to access information efficiently and effectively.  In this project students will be accessing information that students from around the world have posted to a shared math website.  As students view informative products, they also need to evaluate information presented critically and competently.  As students view products created by others I will encourage them to ask questions such as, did that strategy work, which strategy is the best for me to use, did they solve the problem correctly, and was the method used to present the math problem effective?

Meeting the diverse needs of your students, assistive technologies, particularly through the idea of Universal Designs for Learning (UDL):

To meet the needs of diverse learners, students will have many options to choose from to solve the math problems.  In Universal Designs for Learning, students are given multiple options for participation and have choices in their means of expression.  In the context of this project, when taking part in a math activity or solving a math problem, students could choose to draw a picture, use a digital camera to take pictures of objects, use their hands or bodies, use tools, or use hands-on manipulatives.  Having these options will also help illustrate to the students that there are many strategies that can be used to solve the same problem.  Because students will be working in groups to solve a math problem or complete a math activity, students of differing abilities will be working together.  Through this collaboration, students of differing abilities will learn from each other and build on their peers strengths.

Social and ethical uses of technology (particularly digital equity, intellectual property, and copyright) and healthy practices in the use of educational technology

There are a number of social and ethical uses of technology that students will need to become aware of when taking part in this project.  As students create digital media in the form of video, PowerPoint, Google Presentation, or other form, to be displayed on the internet, they will need to learn about some legal and ethical practices of using online materials. 

To teach my students about copyright, I created a lesson plan in which : 
(click here to view my copyright lesson plan)
  • Students will learn what copyright is.
  • Students will work with a partner to research an assigned focus question related to the topic of copyright.
  • Students will create a cartoon picture explaining their topic.
  • Students will present their information to the class.
They will research the following topics:
  • What is copyright?
  • Why should I care about copyright?
  • Which works are protected by copyright?
  • Which works are not protected by copyright?
  • Who owns the copyright in a work?
  • What is copyright infringement?
  • When do I need permission to copy?
  • How do I obtain copyright protection?
  • When and how do I register a copyright?
  • How long does copyright protection last?

Using Technology to Facilitate/Develop Creativity and Critical Thinking Skills in Students

It is important to use technology to develop creativity and critical thinking skills in students.  My plan for integrating the Smartboard technology into the math curriculum will allow my students to think more creatively and critically.  Here are a few ways that students will be challenged to use their creativity and critical thinking skills:
  • Students will collaborate with peers to solve math problems or take part in math activities.
  • Students will use the Smartboard to present their problem or activity. 
  • Students will capture their Smartboard presentation and use the slides to create a digital form of media such as a video, PowerPoint, or Google Presentation.
  • Students will share their presentation on the internet and watch other presentations that have been created.
As students use the technology to demonstrate their understanding, they will be challenged to come up with creative displays of the digital media.  As they go through this process, critical thinking skills will be developed, and they will develop a better understanding of math.

Using Technology to Engage in Professional Development & Leadership:

This project demonstrates leadership in my school district as being the first project that supports global learning and the integration of math with Smartboard technology.  By taking part in the project both students and teachers will become connected with the global society as they view student projects from around the world.  I am hopeful that this project will be the first of many global projects that our school takes part in.

Personally this project will help me to grow as an educator in a number of ways.  I will be challenged to set up a collaborative website in which students from around the world can share projects.  Upon receiving the Smartboards, I will need to attend training at our local Intermediate School District (which is free to me since I am a member of their GenNet Pioneer Teacher Program).  After receiving training, then I plan to train all teachers in our district who acquire a Smartboard as well.

Teaching K-12 Online:

There is an online component to the proposed project.  A webpage will be created for this project, which will display math problems and math activities.  Students from around the world will be invited to take part in solving the math problem or taking part in the activity.  A wiki will be created using Wikispaces that will enable students to upload their digital media that illustrates the math problem or activity.  Students will have the opportunity to view and comment on projects displayed by students globally.  

The Michigan Educational Technology Standards state that by the end of grade five each student will:

          1. use basic telecommunication tools (e.g., e-mail, WebQuests, IM, blogs, chat
              rooms, web conferencing) for collaborative projects with other students
          2. use a variety of media and formats to create and edit products (e.g.,
              presentations, newsletters, brochures, web pages) to communicate
              information and ideas to various audiences
          3. identify how different forms of media and formats may be used to share
              similar information, depending on the intended audience (e.g.,
              presentations for classmates, newsletters for parents)

This project teaches students about communicating with students globally through the use of a wiki on the internet.  Students also create projects with various types of digital media to present their math projects.  As they view projects created to illustrate the same math problem or activity, students will become aware of the various forms of digital media and that many formats could be used to share similar information.