This week for my Leading Innovation and Implementing Change class, we were required to look up professional learning communities to join that follow our specific interests and classwork in our degree program. I chose edWeb.net since it was free and I chose the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (not free, $75 a year for students) since my focus is to add as much technology as possible in the classroom learning environment.
EdWeb.net is a host site for hundreds of educational learning communities. I found 4 that I joined immediately because of their focus on technology in the classroom.
- Blended Learning: Extending Classes Online
- Digital Classroom: Teaching with Tech
- PreK-3 Digital Learning
- TechTools for the Classroom
Feel free to click on the links to go to the sources.
I had heard the term “blended learning” but did not have a clear definition of the concept until I went to this learning community. It’s exactly what I have in mind! Here is their definition of the community: “The Blended Learning Community is a free professional learning community that helps educators learn how to use online learning tools to best create a hybrid learning environment that promotes personalized learning for students to improve learning outcomes.” PERFECT!
I choose AECT because they have the most up to date information on all “HOT TOPICS” in the education world and their current High Interest Topics looks like THIS:
High Interest Chapters of the Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology
Bridging Learning Theories and Technology-Enhanced Environments: A Critical Appraisal of Its History
Ethics of Educational Technology
Educational Design Research
Design and Development Research
Practices and Potential of Activity Theory for Educational Technology Research
Action Research for Educational Communications and Technology
My question for YOU is:
What are YOU looking for as far as effective technology and software in the classroom?
In my Capella class I am to choose a piece of educational technology that I would like to see incorporated at least school-wide. I am responsible for creating a plan to lead the incorporation of this technology and each step along the way to encourage motivation and ownership amongst the staff. Here is my reasoning for incorporating iStation in particular as well as some follow up questions that would be helpful for insight:
For my action plan, I would like to propose a new software program for interventions to be used during our computer labs every day. The program is called iStation. It can be found at iStation.com. I have used this resource in my prior position and found it extremely useful for collecting data and planning the scheduled intervention time that was incorporated into our every day schedule.
iStation is an online educational program that is exclusively for reading skills. I am familiar with the resources and games it provides at the kindergarten level but it can be utilized for up to fifth grade. In kindergarten, iStation has games and activities that support kindergartener’s learning in the major areas of reading at that level: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, and comprehension. It even tracks data for classroom behavior skills such as excessive clicking and whether or not the time they have been on the system has been correctly utilized. It will tell you how many times a student has logged off in a session or how many minutes they remained idle. The program grows in difficulty as the child progresses and masters skills. The students will go through cycles of each skill until they show mastery and then those skills are built upon for deeper learning.
The resources for the teachers are numerous. Not only does it tell you at what level each student is working in the category, but it gives you the specific skill in that category and their progress or lack thereof. For example, under the category of phonemic awareness, the program can tell you the students’ progress in areas like initial sounds, blending, or syllables. Teachers can assign specific skills for individual students or as a class or allow access to a built in library of leveled readers that he or she may want students to read or practice In addition, iStation will provide additional resources for the teacher to focus on the weak skills in a one on one or small group environment according to RTI levels 2 and 3.
iStation has everything teachers and administration is looking for in an intervention program: accurate and in depth data, teacher resources that promote differentiation in a student friendly program that creates motivation in learning with its game-like format. You can visit my blog to see examples of the data collection here:
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So my questions as a strong advocate for this program are:
1. What obstacles do you foresee in implementing this program as a school-wide resource?
2. What resources are missing that you feel would make the program better?
3. How can you see yourself using this program outside of RTI instruction?
Any feedback is appreciated and candid answers a perfect! Thank you!
My name is Jessica Bresnahan and I have been an educator for 11 years. I have my bachelors degree from Purdue University in Elementary Education, my masters degree from University of Phoenix in Early Childhood Education and I am currently working toward an additional masters degree from Capella University in Educational Innovation and Technology. I teach kindergarten and became a teacher because I love to learn and I hope sharing that love inspires others to beome lifelong learners too. I created this page in hopes of sharing and learning with other educators tips and resources for those of us “in the trenches.” I recognize that even after 11 years of teaching, I clearly do not know it all. I will be using this blog for my classmates at Capella as well as any educator that wants to join and share. Welcome!