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Archive for October, 2012

7 Reasons to Use Technology in Lesson Plans

Today I’d like to share an awesome, informative article I found regarding the benefits of teachers using technology in the classroom.  Pretty cool.  This article was found at http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/tech-ed/7-reasons-to-use-technology-in-education-lesson-plans/. It’s the Concordia University website, but they have all kinds of neat resources for teachers. Take a look!

7 Reasons to Use Technology in Education Lesson Plans

Technology has revolutionized the way humans interact and connect with each other and modern classrooms, homes, and offices are drastically different from how they were just 20 or 30 years ago. Students today are preparing to enter a technology-filled workplace  and their worlds are already dominated by social media, televisions, video games, and other technological advancements. By bringing technology into the classroom, teachers are offering students the chance to connect on a deeper level while they are also help them prepare to handle the professional world of the future. Here are seven reasons teachers should consider using technology in education and their own lesson plans.

The Amount of Information Available

When using the Internet, teachers and their students have the opportunity to access limitless information and school projects no longer need to be confined to hours of research in libraries or what can be gathered from outdated textbooks. Students can use Google to learn more about topics in far less time. Teachers can use the information students have at their fingertips to challenge them and encourage them to delve deeper into subjects and master the information.

The Modern Languages Opportunities

Modern language skills are extremely valuable in the professional world. Allowing students to communicate with native speakers of that language is just one of the uses of technology in education. Students are able to hear the language, practice speaking skills, and enhance their overall understanding.

The Chance to Learn Geography, History, and Culture

With a world that is increasingly defined by global trade and intercommunication, the opportunity to meet and speak with students in other countries is a valuable experience in itself. Geography, international history, languages, and cultures take on a much greater meaning when students can interact with people from that country rather than just learn about them in a textbook. Students can interview other children about their local customs and cultures to get first hand experiences.

Access to New Norms of Education

Teachers are looking for ways to increase the attention spans  of their students and this is not an easy task when dealing with a typical ratio of 25 students to one teacher. This can make it challenging for a teacher to give one on one attention to each student who needs assistance with a particular subject. While the Internet is not a substitute for personal interaction, it does offer a wide range of resources for teachers to use to help some students gain understanding of the material. There are study guides, interactive diagrams, explanations, and videos all available on the Internet.

The Internet can be extremely helpful for students who have different learning styles. There may be some who will learn a subject the best when they can read the material, taking time to digest it. Others may learn better through videos or interactive instruction. These methods can all be taught simultaneously through the Internet.

Individualized Lessons

With the Internet, not only will students have the opportunity to study using their preferred means of learning, they will also be able to better set the pace. In every classroom there are some students who grasp material quickly and become bored with subsequent repetition. On the other hand, there are students struggling to keep up. Technology can help teachers create lessons that will allow the quickly moving students to delve deeper into the subject or explore related topics while allowing the slower students more time to understand the material.

Adding New Meaning to Student Projects

Students enjoy finding meaning to their work. While in the past they could create reports and projects that would be viewed only by their teacher and fellow students, their work can now be easily displayed online. They can create materials to be used by other students and get feedback on their ideas from students in other schools all over the world. This will help students take pride in their work and find meaning in their assignments.

Student Collaboration Opportunities

Along the same lines, students can collaborate on projects with students from around the world. They can work with students from the school across the street or across the country. There is a full range of technology, such as the recent popularity in cloud technology, which will allow the students to speak and work together with ease without ever meeting in person.

Technology presents teachers the opportunity to open doors for their students. They have access to limitless information and students are better prepared to enter the workforce because integrating technology into their educational lives better prepares them for the global world.

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Hurry! Time is Running Out on Awesome eBeam Deal!

Through October 31, 2012 every eBeam Edge product purchased
from an authorized eBeam Reseller, comes with an eBeam Wireless Keyboard ($99 value)!

The eBeam Wireless Keyboard, combined with your eBeam Edge, allows you to work with your Windows or Mac computer to:

  • Interact with content at the board and from up to 33 feet away
  • Enter text in any open application using a standard QWERTY keyboard
  • Navigate, scroll and select using the provided touch pad
  • Use the laser pointer to draw attention to items in the interactive workspace

Here’s how North American customers can take advantage of this offer:

  1. Locate an authorized US Reseller or Canadian Reseller.  We are Interior Dimension, Inc. in Ballwin, Missouri.  You can visit our website www.ebeamrocks.com or call us at #314-629-3000.
  2. Contact a reseller and, when placing your order for eBeam Edge products, indicate you would like to take advantage of the eBeam Wireless Keyboard Back to School Offer.
  3. Include the following code in your order – RFWK.

Interactive Whiteboards and Student Achievement- Positive Results

Today I’d like to share a study I found that explores the effects of teachers’ use of interactive whiteboards on students’ reading/language arts and mathematics performance.  The complete results are pretty lengthy so I’m only posting a few of the sections… the entire study can be found here.  It’s pretty interesting!  Take a look!

Interactive Whiteboards and Student Achievement

Karen Swan-University of Illinois at Springfield

Abstract:

This study explored the effects of teachers’ use of interactive whiteboards on students’ reading/language arts and mathematics performance. Reading/language arts and mathematics achievement test scores of all students in the third through eighth grades in a small urban school district in northern Ohio were compared between students whose teachers used interactive whiteboards for instruction and those whose teachers did not. A statistically significant but not meaningful positive main effect of whiteboard use on mathematics achievement was found. A statistically significant main effect on reading achievement was not found, although the reading/language arts scores of students whose teachers used whiteboards were slightly higher than those of students whose teachers did not use them. In addition, statistically significant and meaningful interactions between whiteboard use and grade levels were found, leading to a more careful look at differences in the ways teachers employed whiteboards in their instruction. A within-group comparison of such usage between teachers whose students scored above the mean on standardized tests and those whose students scored at or below the mean revealed that teachers of high-scoring students used interactive whiteboards more frequently and in more creative and constructivist ways than did teachers whose students performed at or below the mean. The results suggest that the use of interactive whiteboards can enhance student learning of mathematics and reading/language arts when teachers use them in a manner that takes advantage of their unique capabilities.

Introduction:

Interactive whiteboards are a relatively new instructional technology that is being used in many schools as a replacement for the traditional chalk and blackboard. Many educators see these electronic boards as a versatile digital tool that can help them in increasing student achievement levels. The research reported on in this chapter takes a look at a small city school district in Ohio (United States) that has invested heavily in interactive whiteboards in the hope that their integration in its classrooms will improve student scores on the mandatory state achievement tests. More specifically, the objective of this study was to explore the effects of teachers’ use of interactive whiteboards on student performance in mathematics and reading/language arts.

Discussion:  

The results of this exploratory study show a small statistical difference in achievement between students whose teachers used interactive whiteboards for reading/language arts and mathematics instruction and students whose teachers did not use them. The overall differences were quite small and not really meaningful, and are statistically significant only in mathematics. However, statistically significant and meaningful differences between groups were found at specific grade levels – at the fourth and fifth grade levels in mathematics, and at the fifth and eighth grade levels in reading/language arts. These differences,combined with significant interactions between grade level and whiteboard use, prompted us to explore the possibility that differences in the ways in which teachers used interactive whiteboards made a difference in their effectiveness. The results of these comparisons suggest that they do.When teachers were grouped by their students’ mathematics and reading/language arts performance on the state achievement tests, teachers whose students scored above the district mean on one or both assessments were found to use the whiteboards more frequently (almost every day) than the teachers whose students scored at or below the means on these tests. More importantly, the teachers of high-achieving students used their whiteboards qualitatively differently from teachers in the comparison group.Teachers in the former group used whiteboards in a more student-centered manner and primarily to support the visualization of concepts, while teachers in the latter group used whiteboards in a more teacher-centered manner and primarily for presentation and motivation purposes. Thus it may be that certain kinds of teaching strategies resonate more with the particular affordances of interactive whiteboards to better enhance learning.

Conclusion:

This study explored the effects of teachers’ uses of interactive whiteboards on student performance in reading/language arts and mathematics. Reading/language arts and mathematics achievement test scores of all students in the third through eighth grades in a small urban school district in northern Ohio were compared between students whose teachers used interactive whiteboards for instruction and those whose teachers did not. Statistically significant and meaningful interactions between whiteboard use and grade levels were found, leading to a more careful look at differences in the ways in which whiteboard-using teachers employed them in their instruction. A within-group comparison of such usage between teachers whose students scored above the mean on standardized tests and those whose students scored at or below the mean revealed that the teachers of high-scoring students used interactive whiteboards more frequently and in more creative and constructivist ways than did teachers whose students performed at or below the mean. In sum, the results from our study show that the use of interactive whiteboards can make a difference in academic achievement, but that such a difference seems dependent on how teachers use them. As more and more classrooms, schools, and school districts are acquiring digital technologies like interactive whiteboards, this is perhaps our most important finding. For teachers and schools to make good use of what can be a considerable investment, effective uses of interactive whiteboards should be more thoroughly and robustly explored.