Structured External Assignment
Submitted in partial fulfillment of requirements for
Technology for Instruction
Division of Education
Area of Program Concentration
December 10, 2008
The use of tec
hnology in the classroom has grown exponentially over the past 20
years. Teachers can use technology to save time, find information, manage grades and
lesson planning. They can also use technology to provided better communication
with students, colle
agues, and parents. More and more schools have computers in
classrooms or computer labs which bring technology and all of its benefits directly to the
students. Teachers can no longer shun technology as it is frequently being used school
wide in many area
s for attendance and grade reporting and communication. Additionally
students growing up in today’s society frequently use and are familiar with a wide range
of technologies for communication and entertainment. It is important for educators to tap
his and open up as many avenues for learning tat technology makes possible.
Teachers also need to stay abreast of the ever changing and evolving technologies. They
must learn how to use and evaluate products and systems to keep up with the needs of
nts and administrators. Teachers will need to work with colleagues and use
professional development time to stay up to date on the newest products available to
them. Teachers will be more successful if they have the support of their administration in
Technology is very important for teachers in that it is a useful tool in record
keeping and organization. Modern teachers can cut back on much of their paper work by
a large variety of data keeping technologies.
One of the most
used by teachers is e
mail. Most teachers have an account through the school. Teachers
can use this to communicate with administrators, parents, and
administrators can use e
mail to quickly send out information with out hav
ing to generate
memos. This saves time and resources. E
mail also makes teachers more
parents. Parents can easily send teachers any comments and concerns. This is beneficial
to both parties as each can respond during their free time. In
the past a call to the school
would end up in a long game of phone tag, now information can be sent right away. In
addition teachers may also allow students to send homework or projects through e
they miss class or have printing mishaps.
communication too teachers can use
is the use of a
communications tool such as SchoolNotes2.0
. Teachers can
create SchoolNotes Pages to post homework, create flashcard
s, and share other
information. The site is easy to use and teachers can post assignments, quiz and test dates
and any other pertinent information related to their class. Students can use this site to
check for assignments they may have missed. A neat f
eature for students and parents i
that anyone with an e
ount can sign up to be notified if there is a change to the
teachers school notes page. My daughter’s first grade teacher asked all parents to be on
the notification list so she can use the
site to send out important notices and updates as
well as posting information about the curriculum
. Here is an example of a SchoolNotes
page that provides information about curriculum, assignments,
Teachers can have a
class page on School notes or may have an additional page for extracurricular activities
such as the school musical, cross country team, and Sci
ence Olympiad. Teachers can
also be contact
ed through the SchoollNotes web
site. Finally teachers can place useful
links on the page as well as design flash cards to coordinate with their curriculum.
Another tool that has changed the way teachers organi
ze their work is through
word processing software, such as Microsoft Office. Many schools use this or a similar
version for word processing. In the past teachers would have to type up worksheets,
quizzes or teats and run them through a mimeograph machine
or copy them, they would
have to save a copy if they intended on using them again. This required
skills and space for a good filing system. Now teachers can create these
save them on their computer. After using a test the t
eacher can reflect if the assessment
was fair or need
s to be changed, this can be easily done using word processing software
In addition, it is eas
ier for teachers to generate tests and quizzes to meet students’
academic levels or to create an A, B or C
to prevent cheating. I observed a teacher
that had created study and reflection sheets for each chapter of her Social Studies text
book. The teacher can save them on line and make adjustments as needed. The computer
becomes the new filing system o
f course docu
ments. In addition to teachers
processing software can also be used by students to generate reports, essays, newsletters
nd a variety of written assignments.
Online grade information can be found on a web site such as Home Access
. This password protected site allows parents to
view their student’s current grades and standings. Teachers input up and coming and
previously graded quizz
es, tests and projects. Parents can see what the point values are.
They can see their student’s grades and their term to date average. This is a great way for
both students and parents to know how their student’s are doing. There are no surprises
port card time if parents are using the Home Accesses Center. Parents can also see
their student’s attendance. The calendar is color coded to show excused and unexcused
absences, tardiness, early dismissal, and home bound instruction to name a few.
can also see their student’s daily scheduled of classes. This tool is great for teachers as it
forces them to keep their grades up to date, preventing a big rush at report card time.
Teachers also have an advantage by allowing access to grades throug
hout the term
parents cannot complain or state they were unaware that their student was having any
trouble. Teachers should use a more direct method of communication if a student is in
trouble or has a big jump in grades, but this system protects both the
impartial grading and it protects the teacher from the frustration of parents who claim
they were unaware there was any trouble with their student. The program also shows the
students daily schedule.
Wikispaces are web sites that teachers a
re now using for a variety of purposes. A
teacher can create a personal or class Wikispace. Like SchoolNotes she can post
announcements, assignments, important dates and information about teats and quizzes.
But the Wikispace can be used for much more th
One of the most unique features
of the Wikispace is that it can be edited by many users creating a collaborative learning
medium. A teacher may want to create a
Wikispace to post announcements and
such. She can also post documents that
can be accessed by students. There can be a page
for interesting or topical links and study guides, the possibilities are endless. An example
of a teacher’s Wikispace is
Here the teacher had tips
about up and coming assignments, downloadable course materials, there is a power point
how to create and save
their own presentation. There
are 2 pages of links for students on topics they a
re working on currently. The teacher can
create a class Wikispace
or a class page on her Wikispace
that students can edit and post
assignments to. The instructional implications are great. Students can crate a
collaborative and evolving story, class rul
es, or share data and information.
share students work and can create a paperless or green alternative to handing in
assignments if students post projects to the site.
There are many things for teachers to consider when they bring technology
For example when a teacher is considering a type of software for the
classroom there are many factors to take into consideration.
For example, the software
has to be compatible with the schools network; the program will need to be che
see if the network can support it. Will the program work on one computer or on
computers throughout the school.
For example a program written for an Apple/ Mac will
not work with an IBM compatible computer.
These questions will need to be answe
before moving onto other evaluations.
Another factor to consider is the cost. Can you
afford it, how much will you use it in your classroom or in your school? Will the benefits
out way the cost. Once the benefits are established it is worth looking
to see if a similar
program is available on line. There are plenty of free online graphic organizers, games,
and tests, rubric, worksheet and quiz generators. In order to properly
teachers and administrators should follow some
nes like those set on
. The software should coincide with the
state and district’s educational standards, should be age appropri
ate, and suitable for a
variety of learning styles. These are just a few of the many factors to consider when
selecting and evaluating software.
Some factors for evaluating software come into play when evaluating a website.
If students are going to be u
sing the sight as in software it should be age appropriate, on
the students reading or grade level, is it easy to use or navigate and is the information
accurate and applicable to the state and district learning standards. Some other things to
en evaluating websites are: is the content up to date and accurate, who is the
and what are their credentials,
is the information reliable or biased
(used as a mask
, how recently has the information been updated and finally is there
contact point such as a phone number, address or e
There are many ways teachers can
technology into their classrooms and
lessons many way were touched upon in discussing using educational software and
creating Wikispaces. But t
here are countless ways for teachers to utilize technology to
enhance lessons and improve student learning. For example in our class we worked in
small groups and found a lesson plan online that included no technology. Once we began
thinking about how to
a host of new ideas and enrichment
activities were generated to enhance the lesson.
Our lesson found at
had students find rainfal
totals in the United
States and the Costa Rican Rainforest. Students in the
lesson plan could find
data on line and use an online graphing tool to show their data.
I also updated an
existing lesson plan that I had wrote where the students orig
inally had to write a sentence
and do an illustration. The papers were to be collected, laminated and bound to create a
book. In the new lesson students did the same thing using Kid Pix software instead. The
software allowed the students to create their
sentence and illustrate it using the software.
The images would then be collected and made into a virtual book or slide show that the
students could post to their class Wikispace.
A fun way to
technology in to lessons is to design a webquest.
online mission students are introduced to a topic, told what they are going to be doing
and then in the process part of the quest step by step instructions guide them through
websites and allow them to find and develop information necessary to mee
t their tasks.
Students can visit websites pre
selected by the teacher to gain information necessary to
complete the quest.
Information about how to build a webquest can be found at
webquest lets you turn your students loose on the web for a specific project and get
results that both you and your students will like.”
Simulations are online interactive programs that
a student to encounter a
real or imaginary
situation that is related to a topic
that the simulation is based on. The
Jamestown Adventure at
to make a settlement choose
what kind of settlement to make
, and what
to do there
. They receive feedback from colonists and Native Americans. At the end
the online simulation students can learn if their choices helped or hurt their chances of
survival. This is a wonderful way to bring history alive and allow students to become a
part of it. In simulations visual, auditory, mathematical/special learner
s can be reached
and this can help a teacher reach a wide rang of students with diverse learning styles.
Instructional games are another way to bring technology into the classroom and
enhance learning. As in the simulations this will reach divers learnin
Instructional games may help students with drills and skill building. For example reading
games found on
show the word or letters and students can hear
the sounds. There are a va
riety of math games that help students practice operations.
Even some games on
popular websites for children
e addition and spelling drills.
Some games that are
seaming fun can provide opportunities for education such as Zoo and Rollercoaster
Tycoon. In these games students learn about money management and running a business.
They may learn about animals and th
eir habitats or touch on physics when designing a
There are so many ways that teachers can use technology from organizing and
making their own jobs easier, to accessing information to share with students and
enriching their instruction. Th
e most exciting part of technology is that while it frees up
more time for teachers with organization and communication processes it provides
unlimited amounts of opportunities to bring a variety of learning experiences to students.
The use of technology
allows teachers to differentiate their instruction and touch on a
variety of learning styles.
Kapoun, Jim 1998. Retrieved December 10, 2008, from Five Criteria for Evaluating Web
Pages Web site: http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/re
Roblyer, M. D. (2000).
Intergrating Educational Technology into Teaching
Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Educational, Inc.
The Source for Learning, (2001
2006). Webquest 101
Putting Discovery into the
ieved December 9, 2008, from TeachersFirst.com Web site:
SRI International, (11/04/02). An Educator's Guide to Evaluating Claims about
Educational Software. Retrieved December 9, 2008, from
/www.ncrel.org/tech/claims/ Web site: http://www.ncrel.org/tech/claims/