The Start of the Journey
When I first heard about the potential opportunity to be part of MEduc Cohort I was very
excited yet apprehensive. It was and still is my intent to continue to learn and implement
technology into my classroom. With technology, I believe I am better equippe
d to deliver a
lesson, reach a wider caliber of students, provide accurate information immediately,
material in a variety of ways to accommodate different learning styles and
communication with both parents and students.
WOW! It has been quite
a ride. Entering University in 1979, my first computer course involved
punch cards and a classroom size computer (processor). Now I am fortunate to work on a
relatively new PC, a tiny Eee PC, and a tablet. The desktop, laptop, tablet
edia (DVD, Laser Disc, yes I still use) or other
(microscope camera) are extremely important in
my lessons. Thanks from the Tech
Department I can easily switch from one to another
It is set up so well that I can toggle from one to another
for screen projection. The
time saving with my current setup allows me to move through the curriculum at a faster pace.
Technology has opened a new world for me over the years. From spending countless hours
researching has been reduced to minutes. Given th
at I teach Biology, I can easily keep up to
date with new advances and answer student’s questions with ease. Communication between
students and parents has never been easier. Emailing (as opposed
to phoning) weekly student
reports can be done in a few minu
tes. The tablet with ‘Microsoft OneNote’ and ‘SMART
Notebook’ allows the lessons to be sent home for those who were absent. Using technology
frees time to be spent on other things, including individual instruction, tutorials, assessment,
reflection, and am
endment and let’s not forget developing and playing with new ways of using
Technology has always been important in my classroom, although the learning curve has and
continues to be steep. Thanks to my own kids (biological and students), the tec
and the UBC cohort the challenge has been softened.
My goal is to continue to
learn and try new programs to better learning in my classroom. Through variegated methods
student’s I hope will enhance their skills and I have the
advantage of learning with and from
Digital learning is an intrical part of my agenda. I am challenged every day to keep up and be
proficient in mastering technology. We as with many schools face the challenge of meeting the
needs of all of our stud
ents. Through approaching each learning outcome in a variety of ways, I
feel, enhances the chance of meeting the needs of a wider variety of students. Most
instructional days I will take advantage of the tablet,
internet, power point
nenote and S
MART Notebook. By using technology and having students
engaged and participating I feel stimulates a better learning environment. Students love the
opportunity to control the tablet pen, lasso, eraser, wireless mouse etc. of the tablet
Investigating on the internet is awesome! In today’s age of immediacy, information and
questions can be answered in a matter of seconds. Changing curriculums have been a challenge
to all especially new teachers. Going on line has made this challenge a lo
t easier. It is so time
effective. Spending time online assists meeting these objectives outlined in the IRP’s. In
addition, many resources are available. Thanks to the sharing of other professionals, power
points, lab activities
and incredible ideas are a
ccessible. I have implemented many items found
online into my lessons and I search daily to add and make my delivery of the curriculum better.
In addition, students who face the challenge of provincial exams and unit tests have the benefit
of practicing on
line. Teaching students how to use and benefit from technology is vital to their
success as lifelong learners.
When starting the program I was terrified. My computer skills and experience was
this program was so out of reach with respect to my current
whether or not I would be successful. Day one my mind was put somewhat at ease once I met
Dr. Don Krug who is the director of the program. Don pointed out that there is varying level
in the cohort and the goal is to have each one of us
develop to the best of our
capacity over the next two years and to continue learning and experiencing new technology
throughout our lifetime.
The first week started out with the interact
ive SMARTboard. Having SMART Notebook only
recently installed on my computer this was an awesome opportunity to jump start me into
learning what the program has to offer.
Within the first week I has able to handle the basics of
the program including playi
ng with the interactive simulated frog dissection. Last week during
the second session of SMART Notebook in the program, I was able to import pictures and
videos with ease and use some of the interactive activities.
The second week of the first summer intr
oduced us to Wordpress, and Drupal. Here we were
able to make
webpage, communicate and share ideas with one another. In the fall we learned
how to make a movie and a
unit. For the movie I used PC’s movie maker which
initially posed a huge ch
allenge but over time I had a basic skill level which helped in making a
second movie for the program this last week. Moodle was the program that our team used to
create a unit on sustainability. This also was an enormous challenge for me but thanks to my
partners I also was able to work with the program at a basic level.
Our next class after
Christmas allowed us to learn and expand our skills in making presentations with power point
and prezi. This was a lot of fun
and it became easier to include creativit
y into our presentations.
Another challenge was to create a concept map in which the entire course was to be
represented within the massive project. In creating this map the understanding of the concepts
included escaladed from
understanding to extre
mely high level comprehension. I can see
myself including CMap in my courses.
Philosophy in My Practice
Ontology and Epistemology
In short I read this on a sociology chat line that I accidently came across:
Ontology is the study of what exists and the nat
ure of what exists. It is, in short,
metaphysics. Epistemology is the study of knowledge and justification.
Ontology according to the dictionary is the study of the nature of being, existence and reality.
Stating this, the first question that comes to min
d is how reality is understood. That is, what is
real in one circumstance for one individual is not necessarily real for another. Ontology then
must deal with the person or individuals as a whole.
This theory then tends to accompany the interpretivist (wh
ole person as a learner) in which
reality is socially constructed, complex and ever changing.
In education it is important to be able to understand basic categories of being and their
relationships. We must be able to understand what entities exist, how e
ach can be grouped,
related and subdivided according to similarities and differences. It is also important to
appreciate the relationships that may be obvious and possibly much more important to be
aware of many others that are hidden or camouflaged. Not o
nly is it important for the teacher
to recognize the ontological mix in the classroom but the students own sense of reality or
comfort level. An example of this may by social media; where our sense of reality and comfort
level with technology and informati
on flow as a teacher maybe and is probably miles away from
those we are educating.
Understanding ontology will affect how information is presented and the experiences our
students have (epistemology). Epistemology is concerned with the nature and scope or
limitations of knowledge. We must ask ourselves:
What is knowledge?
How is knowledge acquired?
What do our students
What is important or not in learning?
What are the kinds of ways we are getting students to experience things
In answering the first question, Wikipedia suggested using a Venn diagram where knowledge is
derived from what is thought to be true blended with what the individual’s
Secondly, Phenomenology believes people gain knowledge through all of our senses whereby
we can find our place in the world. Multiple
intelligence can thereby be derived depending on
what we perceive to be true our beliefs and maybe most impor
tantly how we perceive what is
presented to us.
A challenge to me would be how we determine what our students already know and the best
learning style (methodology) that would result in a more productive experience. The positivist
in me would find it neces
sary to present basic knowledge in a formal manner. This would allow
assurance that the student understands the rules necessary to conduct investigations properly
and in a safe manner especially in sciences. The interpretist would allow students to become
active learners. The student would potentially have the opportunity to be a learner as a whole
person. Interpretivism has the potential to accommodate a wider range of individual learners.
Especially in academic courses I believe a balance between a positi
vist approach and
interpretist approach will best enhance the knowledge of my students.
To implement student based interactive learning using technology in the
classroom. This would include the use of computers set up with Smart T
echnology and access
to the internet. Students will work individually and collaboratively on curriculum based and
active learning strategies.
The project will be designed for Senior Biology classes. Students will be engaged in
computerized predesigned activities in addition to creating their own. The
students will have an opportunity to work collaboratively to gain a basic understanding in
addition to having an opportunity to demonstrate individual mastery.
That is, mastery lea
an instructional method that presumes all children can learn if they are provided with the
appropriate learning conditions. Specifically, mastery learning is a method whereby students are
not advanced to a subsequent learning objective until they
demonstrate proficiency with the
current one. (Wikipedia
It is the plan to initiate this program in the fall of this year.
To enhance learning, retention and mastery of the curriculum
To motivate &/or engage students
To provide an environ
ment for active learning thereby creating an environment for
Experience what is presented (curriculum based)
Explore avenues of interest (research)
Expand on current knowledge (which may be presented or assimilated in a
technology based projec
To provide an opportunity for cooperative learning
To provide an environment for higher level thought processes
Rationale and Relevance in Education:
To allow students to explore the curriculum through mechanisms that better
accommodate their learning s
To create a classroom environment that is more dynamic (less teacher driven)
To provide the potential for multi
To allow students to demonstrate their knowledge and mastery in a variety of ways
To better make use of technology in th
e classroom, that is to progress from
Technology simply replacing word processors to
Technology enhancing demonstration of student learning therefore
Technology transforms student learning
(JRTE, 41(1), 23, 2008)
Technology in the Classroom: “What does it
Technology is everywhere. Entertainment, communication, gaming, navigating, purchasing,
much more. It can be all consuming but more concerning is it monopolizing
in it seems 24
With all that is around us, the question is,
‘where can technology make the most impact
for our yo
in the future?’. It is my belief that
that would be in the classroom. Not only do students have the opportunity to work and learn
what technology has to o
ffer but the ability to acquire knowledge in a much more effective
a mix of how technology has made an impact in our
s. This has been from non
nt to success beyond belief.
In one study,
esearch has reveal
ed, “Students who use computers in the classroom at least
once each week do not perform better on the NAEP reading test than do those who use
computers less than once a week. Students who use computers predominately for drill and
practice, as opposed to u
sing them in ways that develop higher
order thinking skills, tended to
do worse on the NAEP math test.
, Kirk A. 2000
In addition, Todd Oppenheimer
an associate editor at Newsweek Interactive has noted that each time a technology has been
developed in the United States (
, radio etc) that these inventions would
replace and revolutionize education in America. (Johnson,
. 2000 pg 7). Groff, J & Mouza,
C (2008) pg
22, also mention “that
into the classroom in order
to transform teaching and learning has been a long
standing tradition in education”. Although
they further mention, “no other instructional tool has been at the center of an educational
revolution like the computer, nor has an
y other innovation been as invested in, supported,
criticized, and researched as the computer (Tyack & Cuban, 2000).
Factors influencing the impact of technology are
Presence of hardware
Community support (parent and student)
best suiting programs
The biggest factor I believe is teacher buy
in. As a professional, do I feel confident and more so
competent to integra
te technology into my classroom?
Do I use my students as lab rats as I
experiment with new programs and methodologie
Many teachers are asking themselves
Major hurdles for implementation are
for those teachers who are concerned
incial exams. They question whether to stray from traditional pedagogical
methodology to pioneer a path whose results are not well documented all alone proven.
is documented is how many teachers are using technology, simply as a word processor or as a
administrative tool for attendance, marks and communication. Few have made the leap into
pedagogical use. In some studies it is noted that those who diverge from their comfort zone is
not due to
inner motivation but more of obligation and expectation fro
m higher up
(administration and the district). This is especially so from those districts who have spent a
great deal of money putting in to place the infrastructure necessary for technology
implementation. Saying this
Zhao & Cziko, 2001, p27) there are
three conditions that are
identified for teachers to use computers:
Teachers must believe that technology can more
effectively achieve or maintain a
level goal than what has been used (“effectiveness”).
Teachers must believe that using technology wi
ll not cause disturbances to other higher
level goals that they evaluate as more important than the ones being maintained
Teachers must believe that they have the ability and resources to use technology
Once teachers have an
acceptable grasp on the above the long journey of implementation can
are expected to foster the important educational reform that ICT
teaching can hopefully support by transforming students into active
more appropriate profile for the citizens of the information society. It is expected that “an
educated citizen in the year 2020 will be more valuable as an employee because he or she will
be able to produce more builders
, synthesizers, and inven
tors of strategy than
as an employee who manages facts” (Di Sessa, 1988 cited by Hamza & Alhalabi, 1999,
cited by S. Demetraidis et al
Computers & Education 41 (2003) 19
The next step in my opinion is the implementation of at least one compu
ter equipped with the
necessary software, internet connection and an awesome training program. If the teacher does
not feel competent in working with the computer and curriculum designed software it will not
happen. Training therefore is not restricted to
the use of software but more critically is how to
specifically use it in the classroom.
“Teachers express considerable interest in learning how to
use technology, they need c
onsistent support and extensive training
in order to consider
themselves able for
integrating it into their instructional practice (Computers & Education 41
2003 pg 19).
Relying on teachers to be extremely crea
pedagogically and methodology
while learning a foreign mode of delivery
Once teachers are comfortable with the technology is the time schools can put in the hardware.
This although is a
challenge for most schools. There is simply no
purchase what is necessary to properly implement technology in the c
lassroom. In my opinion,
there needs to be a computer per student (or no more than 2/one), a projector, SMARTBoard
or tablet. The transition from traditional
to technical will require not only an evolution of
thought but an evolution of how technology is i
nitially used to its full potential.
of change is concerned with the transformations in conceptual thinking as a result of practicing
teaching in a technology
rich classroom (Levin & Wadmany, 2008 pg 244)
. Without the
In order to maximize the full potential of technology the class
room teacher needs support from
administration, the technology department and parents and students.
Administration is an
extremely important variable in the success of technology i
administrators influence school structure and culture, constituting the venue for any
instructional initiative. Therefore, administrative support (or lack thereof) can make or break
teachers’ endeavors to integrate technology into the classr
oom. (Groff & Mouza, 2008, pg 27)
They must be able to identify leaders in their staff who can support and be mentors to others
struggling throughout the journey.
This is critical because technology support is the make or
breaker of the evolution of integr
ation. In most schools the technology department consists of
one or two professional. Their job is taxed enough all alone helping the other 100 on staff who
are experiencing difficulties. In my own experience these difficulties may be huge (virus
te. It is the minute problems that require an in house person t
o immediately solve the
updates, servers, internet access,
Time management is also a critical component to the puzzle. Teachers not only need time to
he technology and programs but also to create effective lesson plans.
introduction of ICT in education, schools now face new social, cultural, and pedagogical
phenomena, which challenge teachers in terms of their technical ability, knowledge, an
experience” (Levin & Wadmany, 2008 pg 234).
Support must not only be given as
as continued educational training classes. Technology is changing at a very rapid pace therefore
updates on programs must be completed on a regular basis. Keepin
g up with training especially
for social media and communication is critical.
Teacher confidence is paramount for
incorporation and commitment to innovation (Levin & Wadmany, 2008, pg 237)
Students and parents must also buy into the program.
Students who s
eem to embrace
technology still must adjust to using it in an educational form.
“What prior student experiences,
skills, and attitudes are necessary when implementing instructional projects that make use of
technology? The background, attitudes, beliefs an
d skills that students bring to a proposed
project can si
gnificantly influence its direction and success (Groff & Mouza, 2008, pg33).
Parents must trust that teachers are presenting the curriculum in a manner not to impede but
to enhance the learning of th
In addition technology must also be present in the home.
It is not enough to simply have a computer, but the students must have access to the internet
and possibly the permission to access and u
ses social media for communication.
may also be an interesting notion as to why technology should be implemented
into the classroom.
If a school is noted for it
reputation in successful implementation of
technology especially if it is backed with longit
udinal research it has potential to
attract not only
local students but international as well.
I have noticed lately that schools are running more as a
business than as a service, therefore competition is also crucial to the success
of schools as a
Some reports have indicated that
increased Information and Communication Technology
implementation has dramatically increased the qualitative impact of teaching and learning
, 2001; Pedretti, Mayer
Smith, & Woodrow, 1999; Sinko & Lehtinen,
. Students become m
ore progressive thinkers.
has not come about over
night. According to one research it take a minimum of three years with five star
effectively implement technology into a classroom all alone a school. Computers, teacher buy
ministration, financial, tech. support, education, release time, Support once again
includes; computers, teacher buy
in, administration, financial, tech. support, education, release
“It takes five to six years for teachers to accumulate enough
expertise to use
ways advocated by cons
reform efforts (Ertmer, 2005, pg 27).
Financial obligations to initiate the implementation
may be miniscule to what is
required to keep the integration
ongoing. Technology quickly goes out of date and must
constantly be upgraded &/or replaced. Do we
necessary funding in
? An example
is in our school, where we have a COW (computers on wheels) which is shared amongst
teachers. This set of 30 l
aptops viewing on the surface
exceptional but without
teacher ownership we found it to be abused and in much need of repair. Without the financial
resources and teacher initiative this simplest
is also destine to failure.
also crucial, to have access to the use of these computers or any other lab requires booking,
timing and could lead to possible monopolization. If teachers invest countless hours in
attempting to implement technology can be easily disheartened by an
“Numerous research studies provide a long list of factors that can potentially affect the use of
technology in schools. These factors
include lack of convenient access to computers,
inadequate infrastructure, poor planning for the use of te
chnology (Smerdon et al., 2000)
In closing, I agree with Demetriadis et al., 2003 pg 22, that there are three major issues
repeatedly identified by research as important for introducing ICT into the classroom.
“Control” (possessing working knowledge of ICT
, being confident, having control over
technology) as an enabling and psychologically reassuring factor.
“Resources” (number of available computers) as an enabling factor.
“Inner dissatisfaction” (dissatisfaction with the current status) as a motivating
Demetriadis, S., Barbas, A., Molohides, A., Palaigeorgiou, G., Psillos, D., Vlahavas, I., Tsoukalas,
I., Pombortsis, A. (2002).
n negotiation”: teachers' acceptance/resistance
attitudes considering the infusion of technology into schools
Education 41 (2003), 19
Doering, A., Veletsianos, G. (
Hybrid online education: Identifying integration
models using adventure learning
Computers & Education
olume 41, Issue 1
August 2003, Pages 19
Ertmer, P.A. (2005). Teacher pedagogical beliefs: The final frontier in our quest for
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Volume 53, Number 4
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, C. (2008). A framework for add
ressing challenges to classroom
AACE Journal, 16(1), 21
Johnson, K.A. (2000). Do computers in the classroom boos
t academic achievement?
for the heritage center for data analysis. CDA00
. Retrieved from
, T. &
, R. (2008). Teachers’ Views on Factors Affecting Effective Integration of
Information Technology in the Classroom: Developmental
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Smerdon, B., Cronen, S., Lanahan, L., Anderson, J., Ia
nnotti, N., & Angeles, J. (2000).
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DC: US Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics.
Tyack, D., & Cuban, L. (2000). Teaching
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Zhao, Y., & Cziko, G.A. (2001). Teacher adoption of technology: A perceptual control
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