Technology in Your Classroom Habits, Skills, and Knowledge for the 21st Century Educator
by Dr. Gary L. Ackerman
© 2010 Dr. Gary L. Ackerman All rights reserved. No part of this book may be copied in any manner without expressed written permission of the author. Dr. Gary L. Ackerman [email protected]
Table of Contents Introduction...................................................................................1 Habits.............................................................................................7
Practice Password Security..........................................................................8 Use Open File Formats................................................................................12 Model Safe, Ethical, and Legal Computing................................................16 Understand Digital Learners......................................................................22 Be a Bricoleur..............................................................................................25 Understand Frameworks for Technology in the Classroom.....................27 Understand Technology Acceptance........................................................30 Understand The Importance of a Positive Affect.....................................34
Communicate & Create...............................................................39
Use Email.....................................................................................................40 Use Videoconferencing..............................................................................44 Create Digital Media...................................................................................48 Use Chat & Instant Messaging...................................................................53 Maintain a Dynamic Web Presence...........................................................56 Use Blogs and Discussions.........................................................................58 Understand Social Networks.....................................................................60 Understand and Use Web 2.0 ...................................................................62 Understand and Use Cloud Computing....................................................66 Use Wikis.....................................................................................................70
Use Mobile Computing...............................................................................74 Use iTunes...................................................................................................78 Use Web Media...........................................................................................81 Use Full-Text Databases.............................................................................84
Use ICT Systems..........................................................................87
Use Digital Cameras, Projectors, and Other Peripherals.........................88 Perform Initial Troubleshooting................................................................92 Use Advanced Web Search Tools..............................................................98 Use Local ICT Systems..............................................................................100 Use Google Earth & Sketch-Up.................................................................102 Web Applications to Know and Use ........................................................104 Use Multiple Platforms.............................................................................105
Introduction This is the latest in a series of books that presents an evolving collection of skills and knowledge that educators need to be successful in the 21st century classroom. Originally, this project started as an outline of topics for an in-service workshop for teachers. The story of that original list tells the context in which this project was conceived and illustrates my sustained interest in the project. In 2009, a principal called me to describe the situation in his building: Like many schools, his had been connected to the Internet in the early years of the century. His school had computers in classrooms, multiple computer rooms, laptops that teachers could use in their classes, access to email and a web server. The excitement of using computers in the school had waned, other school initiatives had taken priority and professional development focused on those initiatives. Students were now more skilled at using computers than teachers, and in many classrooms computers gathered dust and computer use had become game-play and a diversion for most students. The principal asked me to give an in-service session so that “teachers would start checking their email, and integrating technology.” When I pressed him to tell me what he meant by technology integration and to give an illustration, the best he could come up with was, “you know , teachers using PowerPoint, kids doing Internet searches.” So this principal's vision of information and computer technology (ICT) in his school was pretty mundane: email, PowerPoint, and Internet searches. That principal's vision seemed contrary to the ICT that excites young people and that can transform educational practice that I had observed in 15 years of working with children and computers (in that time I had seen email, PowerPoint and the Internet be replaced with rich media and interaction in networked environments). It also 1
contradicted my understanding of the conclusions reached by ICT scholars in diverse fields (other that K-12 education) who observed ICT changing young people's views of information and interaction. It further contradicted the conversations I had with my teenaged sons (who were and still are heavy users of ICT). All of my observations suggested the principal who hoped to have his teacher check email and use PowerPoint and his students search the Internet had an “old school” notion of ICT, information, interaction, and humans' use of ICT. It became clear that if I took the time to show teachers these old school ICT skills, I would be making the situation worse in two ways. First, I would be giving the teachers (and the principal) a false sense of competence. Even if they became immediately skilled at the three examples of “technology integration” given by the principal, they would all still be woefully unprepared to interact with modern ICT. Second, they would be taking time to learn skills that are little used today and that have been replaced with new skills. I reasoned that the teachers would be better off skipping the skills identified by the principal and moving on to more modern ICT knowledge. I refused the principal's invitation to work with his teachers to show them the ICT items on his list, but I did offer to work on a more modern list. He refused my offer, quite understandably as he wanted to offer his teachers skills they could acquire in a single day and both he and I recognized my list would be far more involved. I turned my attention to creating a list of essential technology skills for educators, and my imaginary audience was the principal who had been so busy running his school that he had not noticed the ICT landscape changing under his nose and the teachers who work in his building. That is the story of how the current project started. This is the third version of the list that I have written since my conversations with that principal.
In the current list, I seek to introduce the habits, skills, and knowledge through which individual educators, who may be unfamiliar with the current ICT landscape, can select those technologies that will best prepare them to start the never-ending task of becoming a confident and competent user of ICT. Through reference to this list, educators can avoid investing time and energy learning PowerPoint (or some other obsolete ICT) only to find they are still lacking what is necessary to use modern technology. I take full ownership for all items on this list; educators are sure to find items that I ignored and to wonder why I missed ICT that seems very obvious to them. Lists like this are largely the product of the author's experience and understanding. My list is heavily influenced by my work as a technology teacher (and coordinator and integration specialist) in a small K-12 school in Vermont and my work as a frequent but irregular teacher in higher education (including working with very diverse students from around the United States in online situations). My list is heavily influenced by my reading and research of the ICT literature (the research literature, the trade literature and the popular literature in education and in ICT). My list is heavily influenced by my observations of ICT-rich populations, especially young people, and my informal conversations with those populations. This list is subject to my prejudices and oversights. The only validation I can claim for this list is that I have shared it with colleagues, and those who are generally recognized as being “tech savvy” agree with my list and those who are not “tech savvy” feel more confident and competent once they have been exposed to previous lists and technology neophytes have reacted with interest when reviewing this list (although the possibility that they were being kind to me has not escaped my attention). One of the major problems in education as I see it is that educators have been slow (too slow) to adopt ICT into their 3
classroom and to adapt their classrooms to ICT. Because of that, I chose ICT habits, skills, and knowledge that will lead to deeper understanding of ICT and the way ICT can serve humans as they use information and as they interact in the modern world. Teaching is complex and that complexity is magnified by the introduction of ICT to the classroom. In today's classroom, simply replicating the gestures and words of an expert does not make one an expert. Understanding the purpose, the reasons, and the connections between the gestures, the words, and the activity is an essential part of expert (or even competent) performance. So, I have attempted a “meta-technology” approach; my intent is to teach about technology rather than to teach how to use ICT. This list is not intended to be a list of “basic competencies” for educators, nor is it intended to be a replacement for technology standards. Although there is some consideration of the classroom applications of the ICT presented in the book and the items were selected because they can be used in K-12 classroom, the approach to the content is not “this is how to use this in your classroom.” Educators are encouraged to use this list as a framework for becoming active learners about ICT and educators are encouraged to use this ICT to select the technology that they will use in their personal and professional lives. Educators have the well-deserved reputation of being very pragmatic as is demonstrated by their “just-tell-me-how-todo-it” attitude. That attitude is very reasonable, but it is slightly misguided. Equipped with some metaunderstanding of ICT (including some understanding of how ICT works, what one can do with ICT even if it is not immediately available, how ICT can be used to access and create information, and how to facilitate interaction between humans using ICT), educators will become wellprepared to create a meaningful ICT-rich classroom. For each item in this book, there is a brief narrative to introduce it, a list of tips to point educators of important 4
details of each, and there is space for the reader to add notes and reminders so that each can be done independently using local systems. The habits, skills, and knowledge are divided into into four categories: habits, communicate & create, access information, and use ICT systems: > In the habits section, readers will find those items that are difficult to define. An expert observing you would recognize them, but the same expert would have difficulty defining and characterizing the habits. > ICT is used to create information and share that information, so in the communicate & create section, educators will learn about tools to facilitate communication (including multimedia communication) between individuals, from individual to group, and within groups. For the modern educator, creating information is done with many of the same tools that are used to communicate, so the tools are grouped together. > The Internet was supposed to replace libraries; a much different reality has emerged. Libraries are now more important than ever as our information needs are both more intense and more diverse than ever, and the work of locating necessary information with precision and efficiency is more difficult than ever. A a result, this book includes several items related to skills and knowledge for accessing information in the modern world. > The final section includes skills and knowledge related to using ICT. This is important because these are the modern tools of the trade and educators need to be able to manipulate and operate them and keep them functioning to be considered competent. 5
Habits Habits of mind have been presented by many authors and groups to represent their collection of “things” that people who are effective do (the populations in which the habits are observed and the domains in which the effectiveness is measured varies depending on the audience of the authors or group). The habits presented here are all related to how an individual uses ICT to interact with information and to interact with other humans.
Practice Password Security
Use Open File Formats
Model Safe, Ethical, and Legal Computing
Understand Digital Learners
Be a Bricoleur
Understand Frameworks for Technology in the Classroom
Understand Technology Acceptance
Understand The Importance of a Positive Affect
Practice Password Security Today, the amount of information accessed via digital information networks and the amount of human interaction occurring over those networks is unimaginable. These network interactions are vital to achieving strategic and logistic goals of many organizations; so, without access to the network, one cannot participate in the activity of the organization at even a basic level. Further, different people need different levels of access and access to the networks is controlled via a user name and password, so passwords are necessary to protect organization's data and systems. In this environment password security is essential. A password is the key to one's network account; the account and its permissions are established by the system operators and the user's password assures system operators that the person at the keyboard is the person who should be accessing the account. All educators have a responsibility to teach and model password security just like we have a responsibility to teach and model respect and kindness. The excuse “I don't care who sees my stuff” may have been understandable for lax password security when only limited information was exchanged online, but in today's environment of extensive online communication, password security has taken on increased importance. Someone with your password can see and edit information intended only for you, can send messages that appear to be coming from you, and could actually prevent you from accessing your work. As more information becomes available on networks and the systems become more complex and potentially valuable to both organizations and individuals, the potential liabilities of unsecured accounts becomes more serious as well. Educators should remember that they may be liable for damage done because they either left their 8
accounts unsecured or they left others' accounts unsecured. A few things to remember about passwords: > Do not keep passwords written where they can be seen. > Use different passwords for home and school accounts. Also, use different passwords for different accounts. (This can become a hassle as you try to recall which password is for each account, but it can minimize your exposure if one of your passwords is compromised.) > A credible network administrator will not ask for your password; if one does simply say “no.” > If an administrator needs access to your account, he or she will change your password, log on as you, and then set your account so that the password is reset the next time someone logs on to that account. (Those changes are logged on the network, and you cannot be responsible for actions done using your account after an administrator changes your log on information and before you create your new password.) > Typically, passwords on web sites that require a username can reset via email. Instructions for changing the password are sent to the email address associated with the account. > Many systems require new passwords on a regular basis.
> Many systems require complex passwords; typical rules for password complexity require: (a) at least eight characters; (b) a mix of letters (upper and lower case), numerals, and punctuation; (c) the word not be a name or a dictionary word. > Do not ask others for their passwords. (Exceptions made for students with special needs should be made only when necessary and only identified individuals should have the password.) > You can be held legally responsible for accounts that are compromised due to your actions. > Passwords are for your protection and the protection of others, so complaints they are too difficult to remember or a hassle is wasted. > Computer systems remember passwords perfectly... if you can't access your account after careful typing, then you are using the wrong password. > Passwords are case-sensitive... if you cannot log on, check to see if caps lock is on.
Tips for Password Security in My Classroom:
Use Open File Formats Throughout the history of personal computing, many different systems (of hardware and software) have gained popularity; the result is that educators are likely to encounter many different computer systems on a regular basis. The information educators send out to students, families, and colleagues is likely to encounter even more diverse computer systems. In this environment it is important that educators take steps to ensure the information they create is published in open file formats. Most educators have observed this situation: A student comes in to class with a disk on the day a paper is due. “My printer is out of ink,” she says. When she tries to open the file, it is not recognized by the school computer. The “tech guy” is no help because the student created her paper on a word processor that the school does not have installed. This can be explained by file incompatibility. The paper was written on word processing software that is not installed in the school, so it cannot be opened. The same software incompatibility explains the inability of users to open word processing files that are attached to emails (or for sections of files that appear scrambled once they are opened). By saving files in open file formats, educators can ensure the files they create can be opened on diverse computer systems, including both the old computer systems that are still in use in school and the brand new systems available in some students' homes (and in their pockets!). Some of the advanced features of (for example) word processing software used may not be available on the open format versions of the files, but for making finished documents available to diverse users, these formats are essential.
Some formats are recognized as open formats because free players or viewers are available so the files can be read by diverse systems; those players must be installed on the computer however. The familiar portable document format (PDF) is an example of such an open file format. All educators should be able to: > Recognize files that are going to be made public (for example attached to an email message, uploaded to a file sharing site, or linked from a web page, blog or attached to a discussion board post, or saved on a network drive or a removable disk or flash drive) and save each in an appropriate open file format. > Help student use open file formats. Things to remember about open file formats: > Not all features of your applications are compatible with open file formats. > Some file formats are considered open only because free players are available. > Once media files are saved in open file formats, the ability to edit the files is lost.
Look for open file formats in the “Save as Type” drop down menu which is found in the “Save As...” dialog box opened from the File menu on almost every application.
Open File Formats to Know and Use: PDF Portal Document Format is used primarily to make “printer-ready” copies of word processing documents. Many modern word processors have PDF as a “Save as” option, but once a file is created it cannot be further edited. Reading PDF files requires a reader program available for free from Adobe. RTF Rich Text Format is a basic word processing format. Most-- but not all-- character, paragraph, and page formatting created in one application can be replicated on a different application as long as the original files is saved in rich text format. JPG Joint Photographic Experts Group is a format for saving images (both vector drawing and bitmaps). PNG Portable Network Graphic is another format for saving images (especially bitmaps). GIF Graphics Interchange Format is an image format developed in the 1980's. MP3 Moving Picture Experts Group-- the third version-- is an audio format. MP4 This one is a video format.
Model Safe, Ethical, and Legal Computing The emergence of digital computers and digital networks is changing what is means to be a responsible user of information and ICT. These changes arise from the vast information that we access, create, and disseminate via ICT and the ease with which information can be copied and distributed using digital technologies compared to the same tasks using analog technologies. Although almost all schools have approved policy statements that indicate teachers and administrators will use information technology in an ethical, legal, and responsible manner; these policies are not always translated into understandable and informative procedures. Those policy and procedures are not always updated as new ICT tools and practices are introduced into the school. Educators should also realize they are unlikely to be covered by professional insurance if they are found to have acted illegally when using ICT (even if they were unaware of the law).
Quick Definitions of Safe, Ethical, and Legal: Safe computing includes ensuring that no person is harmed by the use of ICT (this includes a person's privacy, reputation, mental and physical health). Safe computing also includes ensuring that systems are not damaged (beyond reasonable wear and tear) by your use. Ethical computing includes ensuring that all learners have access to computers, that shared resources are distributed with equity, and that equipment is used in manner that ensures it remains functional for as long as is reasonable. Legal computing requires educators be aware of changing laws in various jurisdictions.
The Ten Commandments for Computer Ethics Thou shalt not... … use a computer to harm other people … interfere with other people's computer work ... snoop around in other people's files … use a computer to steal … use a computer to bear false witness ...use or copy software for which you have not paid … use other people's computer resources without authorization ... appropriate other people's intellectual output Thou shalt... … think about the social consequences of the program you write … use a computer in ways that show consideration and respect (Versions of this list have been on the 'net for decades.)
The 21st Century Educator Who Practices SEL Computing Will Recognize that They Have a Responsibility to: > Protect Systems-- Keep systems safe from both hardware and software vandalism as well as safe from theft and physical harm. > Protect Data-- Take steps to keep information safe from either your purposeful and inadvertent damage or destruction. > Protect Privacy-- This takes on particular importance in the modern world where it is so easy to capture images and make them public. (For example, most schools have lists of students who are not to be photographed. If you allow those students' to be included in a YouTube video captured in your classroom, then you could be responsible for that breech of professional responsibility.) > Protect Intellectual Property-- Follow software licensing agreements and honor all copyrights, including students' rights. > Share Common Resources-- Use shared printers and similar devices in a manner that ensures they are still fully functional when you are done. > Model Responsible Use-- Our students will do as we do. > Give All Students Experience Using Computers-Educators who use computer for enrichment or as a reward are guilty of malpractice. Those students who are disadvantaged are as deserving (perhaps more deserving of) of technology-rich education as advantaged students.
Fair Use Guidelines at a Glance: United States copyright laws allow educators (and a few others) some flexibility to copy otherwise copyrightprotected materials. Educators may not copy anything (software, electronic data, or printed data) and use it “for their classrooms,” but they may copy as long as the copied information is: Brief (250 words for poetry; 1 article of less than 2500 words or a selection of text less than 1000 words or 10% of the whole; 1 illustration per book or periodical issue) Spontaneous (if you plan it, it is not protected!) Minimizes cumulative effect (for only one class in a school; not always the same author, no more than nine instances per term) Fair use copying may not: > Be a substitute for anthologies or compilations > Be repeated for same item in multiple terms > Be applied to consumables > Be directed
A Few Specific Notes about Digital Media: > When you buy software, you are usually buying the right to install it on one computer! > Accessing files from iTunes (or other commercial sites) is better than “Goggling” for media files. > Most digital media (think audio books you borrow from libraries) do have DRM protections that limit the way you can use the files.
Cyberbullying and Online Safety The popular media in recent years has drawn attention to problems of cyberbullying... in 2008, data suggested: Bullying increases from grades 6 to 8 (there is little research beyond middle school)... more girls than boys are bullies and bullied... about 30% of students bully and are bullied. Cyberbullying is different from “traditional bullying” because of : > cyberdisinhibition > the permanence of digital information > the ease of distribution of digital information > the ubiquitous nature of digital devices True threats are not free speech... Just because you don't like it does not mean it is bullying... (this goes for adults also!) Schools that use federal funds are supposed to teach Internet safety. Visit http://www.hackscience.net/techinyourclassroom for links to sites to support Internet safety
Safe, Ethical, & Legal Computing in My Classroom:
Understand Digital Learners The world really has changed. The young people coming into your classroom are connected, they expect information and interaction quickly. They like video, it engages them (you may not like it, but it is true). They bully each other over digital networks. They support each other, and share, and fight, and create, and support causes that are important to them and make friends. I am of the opinion that they are strengthened by the connections they build online. They see school as increasingly irrelevant. I think that opinion is justified. The widespread availability of ICT is changing how humans define information, how we both frame and solve problems, and our expectations of solutions. Also, changing is humans' understandings of time and access. (Those with cell phones expect to be in constant contact with others.) These changes are observed in individual humans and in groups of humans, especially younger generations. There is evidence that writing and printing changed how humans interacted with information and changes were observed as electronic media evolved in the 20th century. The speed of ICT-mediated communication is exaggerating the effects of technology on human thought and the pace of change has produced marked generational differences in perceptions of and attitudes towards ICT. The last decade marks the first time in human history that the younger generation demonstrated more skill using the dominant information technology that the older generation. We can expect this change to be the normal state in the coming decades and the differences between young people's skill and adults' skill is likely to grow. Several authors have articulated characteristics of the digital generations that are summarized here. 22
Eight Generational Norms from Grown Up Digital: Freedom- Net geners expect to have more say in what they do and how they do it than individuals in previous generations. Customization- They expect to be able to make technology (and other things) their own... they install their own apps, change background images, and otherwise ”trick out” their technology. Scrutiny- Expect to answer the question “why?” Integrity- Young people expect others to be honorable. Collaboration- This is different form cheating! Entertainment- Young people expect to be entertained (but they can multi-task only sightly better than adults). Speed- Net geners like the rate at which technology changes... they expect it in other aspects of life also. Innovation- Young people want the best technology (which explains why they will buy three new phones in a year!) Tapscott, D. (2009). Grown up digital. New York: Mc-Graw Hill.
Issues Affecting the 'net Generation from Born Digital: Identities-- Separate identities are impossible. Dossiers-- Even before birth, one's collection of digital information grows without consent or control. Privacy-- This has largely evaporated-- irreversibly. Safety-- The digital world includes new threats to one's physical and mental health. Creators-- Young people create content at a level unimaginable in previous generations. Pirates-- Young people want information to be free and they take actions to share. Quality-- With so many information creators, there is a new need to evaluate everything. Overload-- Vast information and constant connections cause information overload and stress. Aggressors-- The “anonymity” of online interactions is connected with some aggressive behaviors. Innovators-- Young people expect to control technology and to find new uses for technology. Learners-- Young people are voracious learners (usually informally and using multiple senses). Activists-- Young people care... and act accordingly. Palfrey, J., & Gasser, U. (2008). Born digital: Understanding the first generation of digital natives. New York: Basic Books.
Be a Bricoleur Claude Levi-Strauss (a French anthropologist who died in 2009 less than a month before he turned 101) introduced the term bricoleur to western thinkers to describe a “jackof-all-trades” approach to technology (and other practices). He suggested the term after observing individuals in other cultures who would explore the potential uses of various new tools and adopt the tools to their work and adapt their work to make use of new tools. When one is a bricoleur, he or she plays with a new device or a new practice in an attempt to become sufficiently skilled to use the device. Educators who participate in bricolage when using ICT are heard to say, “hey this will be useful for …,” and “I wonder how we can use this when we study...”, or “my students can use this for...,” or “I wonder how I can get this to....” These educators are questioning their practice in terms of new ICT and they are questioning the new ICT in terms of their practice. Of course, bricolage need not be specific for classroom uses of ICT; the true ICT bricoleur will be open to new tools and practices and always seek creative or unanticipated uses of ICT. The play that is called a bricolage is opposed to formal instruction. Jean Piaget found evidence that children engaged in bricolage as they pass through the concrete to the abstract stages of conceptual development. Similar approaches to learning about ICT will be useful for educators whose learning about ICT in many ways resembles children's cognitive growth. For adults who are learning to use technology, effective learning must reflect this bricolage nature. Rather than seeking formal instructions and direction in using technology (practices that are well-known to fail!), play.
To Become a Bricoleur: > Work with new technology in short sessions. (four 30-minute sessions rather than one 2-hour session) > Don't worry about breaking anything. (Users rarely break computers!) > Throw away your first projects. > Have your students show you something they have learned. > Articulate connections...“This is just like....”
Understand Frameworks for Technology in the Classroom Technology integration has been the mantra of school and technology leaders for decades, and it has been applied to all activities in which students are in front of computer screens. The reality is that there are very different activities that can occur when students use computers. By using terms that accurately describe how students interact with information and other humans when using ICT, we can more accurately communicate (to ourselves and to all stakeholders in the community) what we are doing and what the anticipated outcomes are. Technology integration is best described as a framework as it is neither an educational theory nor an educational practice. By understanding any ICT-rich curriculum or instruction in five different dimensions, educators can better understand the role of ICT in their classroom: > Learner Background and Knowledge > Learner Tasks and Activities > Social Dynamics > Instructor Activities > Learning Environment and Artifacts Teaching With ICT: When an educator is teaching with ICT, students are using it to access and analyze information, to organize and create new ideas, and to share their new and emerging understanding. The ICT is being applied to problems that are authentic and complex, and teachers are unsure of what the results will look like or what the answers to the questions will be before they start. In these classrooms instruction focuses on using the ICT to learn something other than how to use ICT. Further, the same ICT will be useful for studying 27
other topics in the same content area, useful for students as they study problems originating from other areas, and useful for students of different ages. Teaching About ICT: When an educator is teaching about ICT, the goal is for students to gain knowledge and skills that are specific for ICT. Examples of teaching about ICT that are common today include teaching Internet safety and teaching programming. The lessons lose relevance when isolated from the ICT, but students become more skilled users of ICT, and those skills can be used in many areas of study. Also, there is evidence that teaching about ICT can lead to deeper understanding in other areas. For example, the cognitive skill students develop as they learn to program are applied to other areas. Teaching By ICT: When using the drill-and-practice programs that are found on the shelves of computer retailers, students are being taught by the computer. The instructional model is familiar: students are presented with information and questions and (if they correctly answer the questions), they are rewarded with points, or other “ear and eye candy.” This approach is based on long-discredited behaviorist psychology. In recent years, this model has been applied to test- preparation programs, and both advocates and critics point to the focus on the test and the limited presentation as reasons to either use or avoid these programs. Regardless of one's opinion of teaching by ICT, it is clear that there is little role for the teacher when students are using these programs. 28
Systems used for teaching by ICT are very specific. The system used for teaching, for example, grade three math, is of no use to the teacher responsible for grade four reading.
Teaching Via ICT: When teaching via ICT, the instructional methods used by the teacher vary little from those used when teaching without the ICT. Examples of teaching via ICT that one is likely to see when walking though a school typically include teachers using multimedia presentations to support their lectures, web-based video being projected for a whole class to watch, and students reading web sites rather than encyclopedias. Clearly there are some advantages to teaching via ICT, but the information being presented and the interactions encouraged by the instruction are not influenced by the use of the ICT. In these classrooms, it is typically the teacher who is manipulating the ICT while the students sit passively in the audience.
Understand Technology Acceptance Because it has been used to study how ICT has transformed other aspects of modern life, some educational scholars are beginning to use the technology acceptance model (TAM) as a useful guide for understanding technology in K-12 schools. According to the TAM, three factors are associated with the use of technology in any context: > Perceived ease of use- This is perhaps the easiest of the three factors to understand. If a technology is easy to use, then an educator will tend to use it. > Perceived usefulness- In those situations where one perceives a technology to be useful, there is increased acceptance of technology in that situation. An example for the “real-world:” If a teacher perceives YouTube videos to be a useful source of video to support instruction, then the educators is more likely to use more You Tube videos. > Perceived norms- In situations where one perceives others are using the technology, there will be a greater acceptance for technology in that context. An example for the “real-world:” If parents perceive their children's friends are carrying and using cell phones, then there is greater acceptance of cell phones for those parents.
Things to remember about technology acceptance: > If a technology “fails” (you may define failure any way you wish, and your definition may change depending on the situation) try to answer these questions: “What would have made the technology easier to use?” “What would have made the technology more useful?” > Answering these questions will help you to identify those factors that will give you (and your technical support people) something to work on... the complaint “it didn't work right” is not sufficiently informative, nor is “it did not do what I thought it was going to do.” > Increasing technology acceptance requires a two-way interaction between curriculum and technology: we need to adapt our curriculum and instruction to reflect new technologies and adopt new technologies into our curriculum and instruction.
The Unified Theory of Acceptance and the Use of Technology was derived from TAM and related models and it defines five dimensions that affect technology use: Performance expectation-- We use what we believe will help us do our job. Effort expectation-- We use what we find easy to use. Social influence-- We use what others expect us to use. Facilitating conditions-- Use increases when we feel supported. Personal factors-- Our self-efficacy and attitude towards ICT influences our decision to use ICT.
Technology Acceptance in My Classroom:
Make it easy--
Make it useful--
Expect it to be used--
Understand The Importance of a Positive Affect Many educators feel overwhelmed by diverse and rapidly evolving ICT and intimidated by students' knowledge which exceeds their own. In this environment, they feel the need to be a “computer genius.” Although the research does suggest that those with greater skill and knowledge with ICT have an advantage in ICT-rich environments (both classrooms and in other contexts), the research also clearly indicates that a positive affect towards ICT is positively associated with one's skill and with one's ability to learn new ICT skills. Many researchers are unsure of how precisely to define and measure positive affect towards ICT; but in general, we can be sure that a positive attitude towards ICT is essential to a positive affect. Other factors that contribute to positive affect include the belief that it is important for people, greater skill using ICT, and the ability to recognize and reduce “technostress.”
It is expected that you will get frustrated with computers. It is expected that you will get sick of computers and want to curl up with a good book or take the dog for a walk. It is also expected that you will become increasingly confident and competent as a user of technology, however. Things to remember about a positive affect: > If you are using computers and become frustrated, stop... come back to it later (this is vital to avoiding technostress). > Brainstorm strategies that will help you become a more skilled user. As your skills as a computer user improve, so will your affect towards computers. > When learning something new, work in frequent and short sessions; between sessions, take walks, drink water, and have snacks-- your brain needs oxygen, water, and energy to learn. > Expect to be a learner, not an expert. If you do not know how to do something and you learn how to do it, you have experienced a success. Don't more skill than worry if others have more skill that you; do worry if you ask for help on the same skills over and over. > At training sessions, put instructions in your own words... take notes... step-by-step instructions provided by someone else become an excuse to not pay attention, and they make less sense later than your own notes. > Cognitive load is the term that is used to describe the additional thinking and effort necessary when one first uses ICT to do a familiar task (it is always easier to “do it the old way” when you first use ICT). Cognitive load does decrease as one becomes 35
more skilled. > Also, there is evidence that, with ICT-mediated interaction and information, the cognitive load of complex tasks can be shared; so difficult work becomes easier by using ICT. > Further, there is evidence that those who use ICT to manage redundant tasks can reduce the cognitive load of those tasks to nearly zero; and as that happens, there is an increase in positive affect towards ICT.
Factors that Affect Your Affect (that is change your attitude) > Complicated technology gets in your way to learn... the more familiar you are with a system the less complicated it will seem. > Technology changes quickly... be an ongoing learner about technology and small changes will seem less overwhelming. > Using technology requires learning... active learners are more efficacious (they learn better and quicker). > We learn by building connections... how is a new technology like something you already know? > Stress inhibits learning (not just with technology, but with anything)... avoid learning new technology when you are in the middle of a “bad day” or do something that puts you in a good mood before starting.
A Positive Affect in My Classroom:
Communicate & Create Humans have the need to create share information, and in the modern world, that need is fulfilled in many populations via ICT. In this section, some of the tools available for creating and sharing information using ICT are described. In the modern ICT landscape, audio and video are expected forms of information. Educators should have sufficient skill and knowledge that they can create multimedia information using ICT and share that information via diverse network venues. •
Create Digital Media
Use Chat & Instant Messaging
Maintain a Dynamic Web Presence
Use Blogs and Discussions
Understand Social Networks
Understand and Use Web 2.0
Use Cloud Computing
Use Email Although email has become passè among many ICT users (especially young users), it does remain an essential tool of communication for the 21st century educator. Educators exchange email with casual and infrequent colleagues, receive notice of upcoming events, and exchange email addresses with friends they meet at conferences. Also, an email address is required to register for accounts on web 2.0 sites and to use online applications that can add very useful capacity to any classroom. Essential email skills include the ability to: > Send and receive email messages > Send and open attachments in open file formats > Use the search tool to find messages > Recognize and manage SPAM Things to remembers about email: > Today, most email is web-based; this means users access email accounts sing a web browser. Most schools block access to email systems (especially Gmail, Yahoo mail, and similar commercial services) other than the systems maintained by school technicians. > Over-reliance on email (and especially email attachments) is a sign that one is stuck in the 1990's... learn about the other messaging systems and use them.
> Each email account is unique, no one else in the world can have your email address. Because email accounts are used to control access to many sites, it is essential educators protect email account information. > Only attach files that are in open file format. This is especially important for users of Microsoft Office, as that program uses proprietary file formats and recipients may not be able to open your documents. In many communities, sending .doc or docx files is considered very rude and disrespectful (by not changing the file format, you are inconveniencing many people... and yourself because recepients are going to ask for the file again... be respectful and professional... send the right file to start!) > Email should be considered public messages... educators should not send anything they do not want to become public... and warn parents that (in schools) incoming and outgoing email is archived. > A single person can have multiple email accounts; keep personal email and school email separate. Also, keep the addresses of your colleagues separate... send personal messages to personal email accounts.
Email Etiquette: Don't use capital letters... it is interpreted as shouting in a rude manner (even if you don't intend it that way)
Don't send email when you are angry (There is no unsend command)
Don't forward jokes, chain email, political messages, religious information, fan links, advertisements or similar messages via school email.
Learn the difference between “Reply” and “Reply All” “cc:” and “bcc:”
Add a signature to your email... maybe professional contact information and perhaps a confidentiality notice.
What I Need to Access My Email Account at School:
Use Videoconferencing For many adults, the most amazing ICT tool to emerge in the 21st century is videoconferencing; this allows for synchronous communication including audio and video over Internet connections. If the description in the last sentence does not sound exciting then consider this translation:
Videoconferencing = The Jetson's Telephone really!
Videoconferencing requires a webcamera (each user needs a webcam) and a software connection between the users. The software is provided by several publishers (most offer both full-feature fee-based software and more limited free versions) and using a provider's software requires one to establish an account with that publisher. The easiest and most reliable videoconferencing occurs when both users have accounts with and use the same publisher. Videoconferencing is actually very complex, so there are many things that can go wrong... cameras need to be configured to work with the computer and the videoconferencing software, microphone and audio settings must be set just right, software extensions may need to be updated... and most important... the person on the other end has to be ready to conference at the same time!
Some things to remember about videoconferencing: > Test the system prior to using it in class! > Videoconferencing software may update automatically, so the interface may look different when you use it on different days. > Test the system prior to using it in class! > The quality of the experience depends on the quality of the network connection; avoid videoconferencing over wireless networks. > Test the system prior to using it in class! > Video conferences work best if both users have accounts on the same system. > Test the system prior to using it in class! > The free versions of systems may have restrictions; check that your version of the software provides the service you expect. > Test the system prior to using it in class! > Video conferences are synchronous events... the users at both ends need to be prepared and available. > Test the system prior to using it in class! > Using videoconferencing, classes can collaborate, teachers can meet, and classes can communicate with experts anywhere in the world.
How I Can Videoconference in My Classroom:
Create Digital Media With the expanding availability of broadband Internet access has come the demand for digital media (such as high resolution graphics, audio and video) that are delivered via those connections. Back in the days of dial-up access to the Internet, downloading video or audio required hours (or days or weeks) so Internet content was limited to text and low-resolution graphics. Now, students are frequent consumers of audio, video, and high resolution graphics. ICT researchers have also found that information presented via audio and video is more positively received by diverse populations of users. This means that people find information easier to understand and use and they learn information that is presented in audio, video, and animations is learned more efficaciously than information that is presented in text or static graphics. Essential digital media skills for educators: > Capture, edit, and export images, audio, and video in open file formats > Follow all copyrights (including students' copyrights) when create digital media. > Recognize the work needed to create good digital media and the need to “start small and start successful.” Some things to remember about creating digital media: > Creating digital media usually takes longer than one expects. > Poorly edited media is very distracting... check spelling, check for “pixelated” images. 49
Creating Images at School:
Creating Audio at School:
Creating Video at School:
Use Chat & Instant Messaging Chat and instant messaging (IM) are methods of synchronous communication over Internet connections; these occur in real time. Although many chat and IM systems started out as (and some continue to be) text-only channels, some systems have evolved to allow for audio and video channels. Usually, chat and IM occurs between individuals who have accounts on the same system. Typically (although not necessarily) IM occurs between two individuals and chat occurs among a group. A chat room is a web page that allows users to type messages that are seen by all of the other visitors to the web page in real time. Chat rooms have a feature that allows for a session to be recorded and the transcript can be saved. Educators should be able to: > Use both IM and chat for professional communication. > Include archived chat in classes. Things to remember about chat and IM: > Chat and IM are frequently used by young people-- as cell phones have become more popular, however, texting (the cell phone equivalent to IM) as become even more popular. > These are excellent alternatives to email for professional communication. > Chat can be a used to facilitate class discussion; these can be archived and reviewed later as well.
>Chat and IM is available on MySpace, FaceBook, and other social networking sites frequented by young people. School Internet filters are sure to severely limit access to these sources of chat and IM (and that is a good thing). > There are many abbreviations used in chat and IM to make conversation quicker. > Chat and IM systems can be set up for schools (a web server, free software, and a reasonably savvy high school student is all that is necessary). > Students should not be allowed to access their personal chat or IM accounts at school. > Chat and IM are electronic communications that schools must archive for five years. > Students are commonly use informal and “silly” language when chatting and IM'ing. Teachers who use chat and IM in their classrooms must develop some patience for this. > Chat and IM safety should be included in Internet safety curriculum.
Chat and IM At School:
Maintain a Dynamic Web Presence In the first decade of the 21st century, the World Wide Web became the primary tool of communication for many organizations and governmental organizations. Educators (teachers, principals, assistant principals, central office administrators) all have a responsibility to maintain an active web presence. School and technology leaders have a responsibility to ensure each educator has a functioning account and sufficient access and storage space to maintain this web presence on web servers provided by the school. Many educators express the valid concern that any student whose family does not have access to the Internet will be at a disadvantage as we move to web-based communication. Modern web publishing tools do allow for printer-friendly versions of file to be created which makes it very easy to obtain hard copies of files for students who need information in that form. Things to remember about your web presence: > Vet web sites before you link to the sites. > Educators who “have nothing to put up on the web,” are not doing their job... homework, classroom news, curriculum ideas, web sites for students. > A dynamic web presence suggests the site is updated... once per week seems the minimum at this point... several times weekly is probably more reasonable... several times per day is going to be the expectation soon.
To Maintain a Dynamic Web Presence at School:
Use Blogs and Discussions In the early 2000's, a collection of protocols designed to make it quick and easy for individuals to publish on the web became popular. Blogs and discussions are two that have continued to be popular and effective. The modern educator can use these in his or her classroom and for other professional purposes. Both blogs and discussion boards (sometimes called forums) require a specially configured web server and user accounts. Both, also, are organized around information posted by one user and replies or comments posted by others. Blogs are typically written by one individual who starts the conversation. The blogger will post to the blog (the post can contain text or images, fiction, non-fiction, or any variation of those) and others comment on the post. Administrators (sometimes the blogger and sometimes a site manager) can control who can comment, when they can comment, and even prevent commenting altogether. Discussions are typically organized like a bulletin board. Users post short messages, questions, comments, and other members can reply to those. Some things to know about blogs and discussion:. > Setting up servers to provide blogs or discussions requires only a web server and open source software, and is easily within the capability of the technicians employed by schools (or even a techsavvy high school student). > Usernames and passwords are required for access and school-maintained blogs and discussions should be archived like email.
Blogs and Discussions in My Classroom:
Understand Social Networks Emerging in the first decade of the 21st century, social networks have become a dominant information technology. FaceBook, MySpace, Jango, Shelfari. LinkedIn, and Twitter are among the familiar social networking sites. The social network is just what the name suggests... a network of friends. Each member of a social networking site has a page, and that page is customized by the member. Members post information including pictures and video. Members then link their pages to other members' pages; “friending” is when two members agree to link their pages. Members also communicate with their friends by posting messages on each other's pages. Although the Internet content filters in public K-12 schools block social networking sites to prevent students (and adults) from accessing social networks from inside schools, it is important for educators to have some experience with social networks. Many students come to school carrying cell phones and other handheld devices that allow them to access social networks and many young people spend much time outside of school on social networks. In addition, there are groups on social networking sites for educators. Further, educators should understand how their personal use of social networks can affect their professional life. Some things to remember about social networks: > Profiles can be public or private. > What is posted on a social network (even a private profile) can become public anytime. > Date and time stamps are added to social networking posts... avoid posting at work! 61
Social Networks That I Should Know About and Use:
Understand and Use Web 2.0 Web 2.0 is a term that entered the vernacular around 2005 and it is used to label web sites that allow users to create content. The sophistication of web 2.0 sites varies, but any site that allows you to post a comment or post feedback qualifies as web 2.0. The key to any web 2.0 site is the unique username and password members provide to connect to and contribute to the site. In the United States, laws designed to protect young people from the potential threats arising from interactions on web 2.0 sites (including social networking sites) restrict accounts to those 13 or older, unless a parent or guardian has given explicit permission for a child to have and account. To avoid the hassle of verifying parental permission for children, most managers of these sites indicate in the terms of service (TOS) that by signing up for an account, each user verifies he or she is 13 or older. Of course, it is impossible to verify the age of those signing up for accounts, but accounts created by and used by those under 13 do violate the TOS of most sites. Prior to using web 2.0 sites with students, educators should review all of the conditions of the terms of service and ensure their use does not violate those terms. In addition to the age requirements outlined above, the TOS frequently limit those with free accounts to personal use only, and most classroom uses do not qualify as personal use. Things to remember about web 2.0: > Resetting your account information is usually done through email > Web 2.0 sites have accepted standards of behavior; violating those is can result in suspension of accounts. 63
Some Web 2.0 Sites of Use to Educators: links to these sites are available at http://www.hackscience.net/techinyourclassroom Dipity (to make interactive timelines) Dipity allows a user to create a virtual timeline. The timeline can be filled in with text that is provided by the user, files that are attached at the date of importance, or links to YouTube video or other media can be added at particular dates. The timeline can be shared with others to view or even other users can be given permission to contribute to a timeline. VoiceThread (audio blogging) VoiceThread allows users to record a message that others can hear. Many VoiceThread users upload a picture or other file to be the focus of the message. Other users can then add comments by typing or recording their own messages. (For a fee, users can record messages via phone as well.) Shelfari (social bookmarking based on books) Shelfari allows users to create a virtual bookshelf. Users search (by author, title, ISBN) to find books that are added to one of several book shelves (labeled “I plan to read,” “I am reading now,” and “I've read it”) with a mouse click. Once a book is added, the user can add notes including reviews to the book.
Delicious (social bookmarking) Delicious users can install a plug-in in their web browser that allows bookmarks to be added to their Delicious account. These can then be accessed from any computer. User can share bookmarks and even publish their bookmarks so that others can search their bookmarks. ScreenToaster (desktop recording) Using ScreenToaster, one can record whatever happens on their computer screen, and also add narration through their microphone. The video file can then be downloaded or to uploaded to sites such as YouTube. This is an excellent method for showing students how to use software. PageFlakes (personalized newsfeeds) Users of PageFlakes can customize a page filled with real simple syndication feeds (this is web content that is delivered automatically... think of a newspaper that you subscribe to... once you subscribe the content arrives without you doing anything else). ImaginationCubed (virtual whiteboard) Once a user of ImaginationCubed creates a whiteboard, they can email a link to the whiteboard to others, and those individuals will be given access to the whiteboard. What one draws everyone sees (wherever in the world they may be).
Web 2.0 in My Classroom:
Understand and Use Cloud Computing Cloud computing refers to the capacity to create and store documents online. Users of cloud computing can store, manage, and share files on the web. Just like web 2.0, cloud computing requires a username and password and users create content via the web, but unlike web 2.0, when using cloud computing systems, the user has control over who sees the documents they create and and can even give others permission to edit documents. ICT scholars have drawn similarities between the emerging cloud computing practices and the centralized electricity generation that emerged in the early 20th century. In the early decades of electrified industry, the owner built and maintained a generator on each factory site. This was built to meet the needs of the factory exclusively; and the generator was fueled, maintained, and owned and operated by the factory owner. Centralized facilities for generating electricity were built, and through an economy of scale, it was far less expensive to generate electricity and transport it to sites where it was used than it was to generate electricity at the site where it was used. This reduced to the cost of electricity to industrial users (reducing costs of production) and also made domestic uses of electricity possible. In the same way, computer users are realizing they can use the centralized computing power available on servers maintained by others (who are experts at building and maintaining computer systems), and accessed through high-speed Internet connections and modern web browsers (like Firefox and Safari, less so Internet Explorer). Many schools are moving to Google's cloud computing environment (Google Apps or Google Docs) or other cloud computing platforms (Zoho is another) as a method of 67
ensuring access to reliable and updated applications at small fraction of the cost of maintaining the software inhouse. Things educators should know about cloud computing: > Cloud computing requires a username and password. > Cloud computing can be more secure and reliable and less expensive than installing and maintaining your own software. > Files on cloud computing systems can be accessed from any computer that is connected to the Internet. > There is an archive of all versions of files on cloud computing systems, so “I forgot to save” or “my old copy was better” are not problems anymore. > Students can access their files from anywhere (usually for free!) Things educators should be able to do with cloud computing: > Create, edit, and manage files using Google Docs, Zoho, or another system for using cloud computing to replace productivity suites. > Set permissions publish and share the files you create, giving different users view or edit permission as needed.
Some things to remember about cloud computing: > Publishing makes cloud computing documents available like any other web page. Once a file is published, there is a long and complicated web address for the file, and anyone can visit the page by following the link. (Typically the web address is sent in an email, posted on a forum, blog, or other web page, or the file is embedded in a web page.) > The person with whom a cloud computing file is shared must have an account on the same cloud computing site as the shared file, and the owner of the file must both specify the account that can access the file and specify the type of access that account is granted. > Cloud applications may have limited features compared to full installations. This means cloud computing is good for editing text, but you may want to copy and paste the text into a word processor or a publishing program before printing. > Inserting images is not just copy-and-paste! > Your cloud computing system will provide options for inserting gadgets and media that can add interesting content to your documents. > Cloud computing systems are updated regularly, so educators may find new interfaces, new features, and relocated commands over time. This may require time to familiarize oneself with cloud computing systems on occasion (especially after summer break).
Cloud Computing in My Classroom:
Use Wikis Another system for quickly and easily publishing to the web is a wiki. Wikis are different from blogs and discussions in that the content is organized around articles; any user can edit any article. Unlike blogs, discussions, and other Web 2.0 sites, it is not immediately obvious to readers who posted (or more accurately which account was used to post) any updates, or even which content was the original and which content was added later. Because of debate over the reliability of information available on Wikipedia (the well-known pubic wiki), educators have tended to avoid wikis. In most cases, this is unwarranted: First, Wikipedia is about as reliable as other encyclopedias or textbooks and it does allow for multiple users to access the same article at once and it has more upto-date and more diverse information than printed works. Educators who allow student researchers to use Wikipedia as the sole source of information are as incompetent at teaching research skills than those who allow only printed encyclopedias. Second, wikis can be a forum for collective writing and to practice editing. Things for educators to know about and be able to do with wikis: > Incorporate Wikipedia into research projects appropriately. > Incorporate wikis into writing projects. > Wikis are available from several commercial providers; these may be blocked by school Internet content filters. > Wikis can be installed with minimal cost and expertise.
Wikis in My Classroom:
Access Information In the 21st century, unimaginable amounts of information are available over ICT networks. A common number used (almost ten years ago) to demonstrate the amount of information stored on computer harddrives is 5 exabytes per year. (Many are familiar with megabytes and gigabytes. A terabyte is 1024 gigabytes, and a pentabyte is 1024 terabytes. An exabyte is 1024 pentabytes). Although it is impossible to know for sure, it is estimated that 5 exabytes is equal to the information contained in every word ever spoken by every human, ever. In this environment, it is essential for educators to be aware of and be skilled using ICT tools to gain access to this information. The same researchers now estimate annual consumption of information in the United States is about 3.6 million million gigabytes. The ICT described in this section allow educators to find and use information in that vastness. •
Use Mobile Computing
Use Web Media
Use Full-Text Databases
Use Mobile Computing Today, K-12 students enter your classroom with vast computing power in their pockets. Some of their iPods and cell phones have more processing and storage capacity than laptops sold a few years ago. Together with wireless access to the Internet (access over which schools can exert no control), these simultaneously pose a significant threat and a significant opportunity to educators. One scholar uses the acronym WMD (wireless mobile device) to describe these devices. The emotional resonance of that term is not lost on most audiences. Things educators should be able to do with mobile computing: > Send and receive SMS and MMS messages. > Recognize when students are using their phones when you can't see it. > Develop a healthy strategy for working with connected students. > Recognize that for many students, a WMD is becoming the dominant device used to connect to the Internet. When preparing a web presence, the forward-thinking educators will take steps (in collaboration with the local ICT support staff) to ensure necessary information on web sites is available on mobile browsers. Cautions: > Some schools allow teachers to confiscate phones that students use during class... remember you may be responsible for phones damage to or loss of phones you confiscate
> It is not a right to have a phone... YET! (In several court cases parents have made compelling arguments for their right to have constant access to their children via cell phone. Some legal experts believe it is only a matter of time until a court rules that carrying a cell phone is a right.) > Most cell phones have cameras... if you can't see students sending text messages, you can't see them taking pictures and videos with them. > Mobile devices typically provide only limited World Wide Web capability. Educators may choose to create a web presence that is “mobile computer friendly.”
Using Mobile Devices in My Classroom:
Sites to Use with Kids and Phones in Your Classroom:
Blogger-- Google maintains this site for bloggers. Create an blog (for free), and students can register their phones so that text or pictures sent to the number provided by Blogger (regular message rates apply) appear on the blog. Once the project is completed, have the students disconnect their phones from the blog.
Poll Everywhere-- Allows students to respond to questions be sending text messages (regular message rates apply). Combined with a projector in class and you can get instant feedback!
Links to these sites are at: http://www.hackscience.net/techinyourclassroom
Cell Phones in My School and Classroom:
Use iTunes iTunes is the industry-standard in digital media playing and distribution. iTunes is published by Apple Computer and it is ostensibly for obtaining and managing media for iPods (Apple's portable media player), but the iTunes software can be downloaded (for free) and installed on both Macintosh and Windows computers. iTunes media is available at the iTunes Store, which is accessed from the iTunes application that is installed on a computer. Apple does a good job differentiating free and for-a-fee content. and purchases require one to log in using an account with a positive balance or to key in a valid credit card or gift card number. Things to remembers about iTunes: > iTunes updates regularly... sometimes the interface will change, features will be removed, and other changes will happen without you causing the change. > You can search for podcasts and iTunesU (iTunes University) to find hundreds of hours of media appropriate for almost any classroom. > When you subscribe to a podcast, the new content is downloaded to your computer automatically. > Some podcasts are available only to subscribers. > Users can create playlists to organize the media; these can be used to point directly to the media you want... similar to web browser bookmarks.
Use Web Media In the 21st century, the Internet is a media-rich resource, there are thousands of hours of audio and video available on the Internet or and on local servers. Sometimes this media requires special software (media players or browser extensions) to be played. To further complicate the use of web audio and video, digital rights management (DRM) locks are built into many web media sources, especially digital books. These locks prevent some uses of the file such as playing it more than once, saving the file in a network folder, or playing the file on more than one computer. Web authors also add animations to their web sites, and these require software to play. Flash and ShockWave animations and video, and Java applets are familiar examples of these media. Animations are programmed to run on certain combinations of web browser, and players or extensions. The best approach to ensuring compatibility of your system with animations is to keep your web browser (Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Chrome, etc.) and players or extensions up-to-date. What educators should know about and be able to do with web media: > Identify elements of web pages that are audio, video, or animations. > When you find a media element on a web page that does not appear to work, identify it, and update or install players or extensions as needed. If your account permissions do not allow you to install updates or application, then communicate the type of media you need to play and the necessary player or extension to tech support.
Cautions: > Test web media on the computers you plan to use with students... it may play fine at home but not at all in school... it be accessible at home, but behind the content filter at school. The only way to know for sure is to test. > Be sure also, to test all of the functions you anticipate using. For example, it may not be possible to print documents created with a Flash animation. Planning to have students print a file that cannot be printed is a real waste of time!
Media Players to Have Installed and Updated > iTunes > VLC > Flash > ShockWave > RealPlayer > Windows Media Player > Java > Mathmatica Player Visit http://www.hackscience.net/techinyourclassroom for links to sites to download these players
Web Media I can Use at School:
Use Full-Text Databases Although there is much credible and reliable information on the Internet, few sites have any significant editorial or peerreview of the content. As a result, much of the Internet is not appropriate for academic research. Most schools do purchase access to full-text databases for use by library patrons, however. These databases make available the same information that is published in print editions of periodicals (both magazines and peer-reviewed journals as well as newspapers) and reference books. Access to full-text databases requires a subscription (hundreds or thousands of dollars per year paid by the library budget) and is limited by user name and password or by specially formatted link. The resources available on fulltext databases are usually identical to the resources in print versions of periodicals and books that are available on the database. Some things to remember about full-text databases: > Avoid describing these resources as “Internet sites” if your assignment limits students use of Internet sites in the references section. > Check with the accepted style guide to find out how to cite resources accessed via full-text database. > Access to these resources depends on the subscription your library owns; check with your librarian for access details. > Check the copyright restrictions on files you access via these databases.
Full-Text Databases I Can Use:
Use ICT Systems Modern ICT systems evolve, quickly. What is “cutting edge” technology one day can become obsolete within months. Despite this (actually because of this), it is essential the modern educator learn to use ICT devices with confidence and competence. As their skill increases, they will be more capable of quickly learning to use the next generation of ICT which will arrive as soon as you learn to use any generation. •
Use Digital Cameras, Projectors and Other Peripherals
Perform Initial Troubleshooting
Use Advanced Web Search Tools
Use Local ICT Systems
Use Google Earth & Sketch-Up
Web Applications to Know and Use
Use Multiple Platforms
Use Digital Cameras, Projectors, and Other Peripherals A wide range of devices (called peripherals) are added to modern computers that extend their capacity and many of these have excellent uses in the classroom. Educators must be able to use cameras, projectors, speakers, scanners, printers, and similar devices. Although many educators become skilled at using the peripherals they have installed on home computers (digital cameras and the software to connect to the cameras and manage pictures taken with the camera are a good example), similar peripherals on school computers are likely to function much differently. Educators should have the confidence and competence to transfer skills learned on one system to similar tools (both hardware and software) on other systems. In schools, technicians usually attempt to minimize software conflicts by using system software to connect peripherals whenever possible. This software is usually less flashy and “user-friendly” than other software, but it does allow for more peripherals to be used on a system and a wider range of peripherals to be used on a system while minimizing conflicts. Educators should be able to: > Install and make operational digital cameras video cameras speakers projectors document cameras that your school makes available (without calling for help!).
Some peripheral tips: > Sound is controlled in several places: learn to check the operating system control panel, the software control panel, the keyboard controls, and the knobs on the speakers... (and make sure the speakers are plugged in!) > Sometimes the USB port you use matters... for best results always plug the same device into the same port (the port you use in not supposed to matter, but often it does). > Learn to “follow the signal.” Imagine you are the picture... follow the ports out of and into computers and peripherals to assist troubleshooting. > Take a picture of the proper cable configuration and print it out... keep it where you can find it. > Know your system before buying peripherals. Peripherals usually include system requirements (minimum operating system, processor, and memory) needed to operate the peripheral (and its software). If your system does not meet those requirements, do not buy the peripheral! This is especially important in schools where the computers may be older. > For high-need systems (for example interactive white boards, scanners in art rooms, or document cameras and projectors that are used daily) it is best to install the peripherals and to keep them connected permanently.
Peripherals I Can Use in My Classroom:
Configuring Peripherals I Use:
Perform Initial Troubleshooting Computers are complex systems, and complex systems break. As a result, it is not a matter of “if my computer malfunctions,” it is a matter of “when my computer malfunctions.” All educators must have some skill at troubleshooting some of the simple problems that can arise when using a computer. Avoiding the bad consequences of broken computers: Backing Up Data: The most precious part of your computer is the information you have added...operating systems can be reinstalled, applications can be reinstalled, but data files (pictures, word processing files, music files) can all be lost when a system crashes. Learn to save your files and back them up frequently. Most “lost” data can be recovered, but at significant expense. Some things to know about backing up data: > Storage is cheap- you can buy an external hard drive that connects to a universal serial bus (USB) port on your computer for a hundred bucks! > Back-up software (it may come with your external hard drive) can back up your files automatically. >If you save files on a disk, label it! > Know that CD's and similar media can become corrupt or unreadable! > Learn how to search for files so that you can use your saved files.
Avoiding Malware: Protecting your system against viruses is tricky. You should buy and install virus protection for your computer, but do not be fooled into thinking that your system is safe. Viruses and other malware can still infect computers with up-to-date protection installed. Some people turn off automatic updates of operating systems and software in an attempt to avoid problems. They figure, “if it ain't broke, don't fix it.” This approach may work, but it does expose computers to security risks. Initial Troubleshooting: There are certain steps that technicians will always take before attempting any repairs. They take these steps because they work to resolve most problems: > Save your work. If you have any work open, save it on a network folder, web folder, or some other external device (use the harddrive if that is your only option). > Check connections. Cables come loose and simply plugging everything in (both ends of cables connecting power, network, monitor, and all other peripherals) will resolve many issues. > Restart the computer. Any conflicts that are causing malfunctions will probably be resolved by restarting. This is like having your computer take a one second power nap.
Some things to know about troubleshooting: > Pay attention to your computer. If it starts “doing weird things,” save your work, restart it, and see if the weirdness remains. > Pay particular attention immediately after changes are made. Installing new software can introduce conflicts and cause new problems, so watch carefully after new software is installed or the operating system is updated. Also, make only a single change at a time. If you install five new pieces of software and your computer starts malfunctioning, then it is impossible to know which title caused the problem. > Correlation does not mean causation... just because you (or someone else) did something to a computer and it malfunctioned soon afterwards, does not mean the change cause the problem. > Correlation does sometimes mean causation! Be aware of changes that have been made to computer systems, and if you add software or hardware to a computer system, make the changes one at a time. (Install a piece of software and then use your computer for a day or two to make sure it still works well before installing new software.) > It is really bad etiquette to ask “the computer guy” at school to diagnose your computer that is malfunctioning at home.
Can you find these on your computers?
Power buttons are found on computers & monitors (and most other ICT devices). A green glow means it is powered up. PS/2-Keyboar d and mouse might connect here.
USB-- many different devices connect in any of these four. Ethernet-network cable connects here.
RGB-- the monitor connects here.
Help the Technician by Knowing The Answers to These Questions When You Call: What operating system is on your computer?
Do you have any network connection?
How are y0u logged on to the computer/ LAN?
What software are you trying to use?
Which web browser are your trying to use?
Were there an recent changes to the computer? (new installations or updates)?
Describe any error messages that are displayed
Do you see any lights or hear any sounds when the computer starts up?
To Get Troubleshooting Help at School:
Use Advanced Web Search Tools The typical search strategy used by a student is to type the first search phrase that comes to mind into the search box in Google and then to use the links returned on the first page. (Those who actually look at the results frequently complain about the quality of the results.) This method is also used by many adults! People who study search engines (yes there really are people who do research in this area) determine the quality of results by measuring how precise the results are and how efficient the search is. A search that return results quickly is efficient. A search that returns the information you need is precise. Things to know about advanced search: > Google is the most-used search engine... learn about the advanced search options...it allows Boolean searching in plain English and other tools for returning precise search results. > Explore advanced search screens on all of the search screens you use (for example on the fulltext databases you use).
My Advanced Search Tips:
Use Local ICT Systems Each and every school manages their network in a different way and has developed and implemented different procedures to support teachers using technology. When at school, can you... > Log on to the local area network? > Log on the local area network as a guest? > Identify the services available to a guest user? > Report dysfunctional equipment? > Schedule a shared resource (like a computer room)? > Get toner or ink for printers? > Print a color picture? > Get help using technology in your classroom? > Request new services (like software installation)? > Report inappropriate computer use? 99
> Explain what is expected of you and your students in the school acceptable use policy? > Make sure a student has been added to the system?
What I Need to Use Local Systems:
Use Google Earth & Sketch-Up In addition to providing a search engine, Google has developed many other tools for computer users. I am not promoting any of Google's commercial endeavors. I am not encouraging you to use Google over any other service. I am not supporting Google's efforts to digitize books (or any other attempt by Google to rule the world). (I am a fan of Google's products, but also a fan of Google's competitors.) I do recommend paying attention to Google for two reasons. First, Google is the leader in cloud computing and web search. Your students probably are users of Google products and to be able to “walk the walk and talk the talk” in 21st century computing, you must know Google's gait and vocabulary. Second, Google is innovative (giving your engineers 20% of their time to work on their own good idea will do that for any company). If anyone is developing “the next big thing,” Google is, and they will probably be first. Two Google products that have become household names are Google Earth and Google Sketch-Up. Find a computer with both programs installed. Have someone who is familiar with the program give you a five-minute tour of the controls. (That five minute limit is strict-- set an alarm-seriously.) Play for ten minutes, and then write down your “wows,” including classroom ideas. Some things to remember about Google: > Google is a commercial enterprise, expect lots of advertising on any Google product. > Files stored on Google's servers (uploaded to Google Earth, Picasso, or any of the other Google product, including Google Docs, are effectively given to Google to use as they see fit).
Google Earth and Sketch-Up in My Classroom:
Web Applications to Know and Use Visit http://www.hackscience.net/techinyourclassroom for links to these web applications
Be sure to read and follow the terms of service for these sites. FotoFlexer- an online image editing program. xtranormal (3-D videos) Animoto (simple videos) Wolfram Alpha & Demonstrations (math!) Prezi (slide shows with excellent effects) Gliffy (vector diagrams) Splicd (clips of YouTube videos) CaptureYouTube (download YouTube videos) Wordle (word clouds) These are not applications, but they belong in every educator's tool box: ThinkFinity (lesson plans) PhET Simulations (for science) 104
Use Multiple Platforms The second decade of the 21st century really is a time of transition for computer users. A new version of the Windows operating system was released in 2009, and that is causing many users to think about updating computer systems. Also, educators are likely to encounter various mobile operating systems. As a result, it is likely that an educators will encounter to several operating systems including these: > Windows XP which has been around for more than a decade, it was quite reliable and worked well with Windows servers, so it stayed in schools when... > Windows Vista was released. Many school technicians found this system to be expensive (for the very limited useful functionality that was added) and that the system did not integrate into existing existing networks well, so Microsoft released ... > Windows 7. This system is beginning to show up in K-12 schools in 2011... stay tuned. > Linux (especially Ubuntu) which is an open source operating system (that means free and generally more reliable than commercial operating systems). > Macintosh which grabbed a portion of the market share as Windows Vista failed to live up to its promise.
Also with the variety of handheld devices and the rapid updates of cloud computing systems, users must be willing and able to just jump on a computer and with a few pointers, be able to at least explore around to find what he or she needs. The diversity of computing environments is also complicated by web browsers, the software used to access the Internet. Although Internet Explorer has been the dominate Windows web browser, many computer users surf the web using Firefox or Safari. The Platforms I Have Available: