Category Archives: T4: Informed by technology

designed to create technologically proficient learners

ISTE NETS Standard 5: joining the digital community

As all of the ISTE NETS standards have shown, it is important for teachers to keep up with changing technologies. There are a number of ways in which to do this, but it all comes down to the teacher understanding what is available and how it can be used. One of the most effective ways in which to keep with the times is to get involved in an online community where people can share their personal experiences. Standard five says that:

Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources. Teachers participate in local and global learning communities to explore creative applications of technology to improve student learning…

Online resources and community can be found in a myriad of places. Even popular social networking sites like Twitter can help teachers in their quest to become more knowledgeable in all things technology. Ferriter, in his article about Twitter, shared his personal experience: “I focused on finding middle school language arts and social studies teachers or teachers interested in technology, knowing that people with my interests were likely to point me toward resources I could use.”[1]

Of course, this community of sharing can benefit any teacher in any subject area. I personally look forward to using resources such as this to gain new insight on issues in social studies. Having access to thousands of perspectives and worldviews (as well as years of experience) will be just one way that I can expand my knowledge and the information that I pass along to my students.

One particularly helpful resource that I have come across is called Power to Learn. The website has all sorts of reviews, articles, and ideas for the classroom that involve the use of technology or helpful sites to create resources for the classroom. I am beginning to understand just how great the role of trial and error is in the classroom, but thankfully there are resources available, like this, that allow people to share their own experiences as we all experience developing technology.


[1] Ferriter, W. Why Teachers Should Try Twitter. Educational Leadership Feb 2010 Volume 67 Number 5

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ISTE NETS Standard 4: Being a model digital citizen…

As I mentioned the other day, the internet has completely changed the way that students do school. With these changes brings the possibility for students to face ethical issues, more specifically with cheating. It’s much easier to copy & paste text from a website than rewrite a passage from the encyclopedia, and students have access to a lot more information than they have before.

This being the case, it’s really important for teachers to demonstrate honesty and correct use of technology in the classroom. ISTE NETS Standard 4 says that:

Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices. Teachers:

a) advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.

One interesting set of statistics that I found included information that “35% of students admitted to using their cell phones to cheat” and “52% admitted to some form of cheating involving the internet.”[1]

Aside from the fact that students are cheating by using technology, there is also the possibility that they are not being taught HOW to use it correctly. Teachers and other adults should be showing students the proper way to use technology as well as give credit in order to prevent plagiarism. “When students see adults using technologies inappropriately, they can assume it is the norm. This leads to inappropriate technology behavior on the part of students.”[2] In order for students to understand their “digital responsibility,” they need to be taught the right way.

I see this as a vital part of the social studies classroom. By the time students reach their high school career, they should be familiar with the concept of citing their references and giving credit for their work, but it’s also a time where they have an increased amount of schoolwork. If students see these ideas modeled by their teachers, it will make a difference. (Although it may not always seem that way, we can always hope that students will remember that their teachers stressed giving credit for work that they borrow!)

The attached document is a handout that talks about digital citizenship and cheating.

Digital Citizenship and Cheating


[1] Cheating Goes Hi-Tech. Retrieved from: http://commonsensemedia.org/cheating-goes-hi-tech

[2] Ribble, M., Bailey, G., & Ross, T. Digital Citizenship: Addressing Appropriate Technology Behavior. Learning & Leading with Technology, 32(1), 6-11.

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Digital Citizenship and Cheating

A wealth of information is literally available at the fingertips of students everywhere. With the development of technologies like smart phones, students have access to the internet all of the time-including classtime. While the availabilty of such a wealth of information can be a blessing, it is worth talking about in order to clarify what constritutes “digital cheating.” Now more than ever, students need to understand the ethical use of the internet, including where they get information and how they give credit for it. It is increasingly important for both students and parents to understand that the Internet can provide us with an amazing amount of information, but we as “digital citizens” need to understand how and when to use it, as well as how to give proper credit to references. Students need to understand that plagiarism is a very real and troublesome problem and how technology has both helped and hurt us in this way.

The attached document, Digital Citizenship and Cheating, defines and gives examples of digial cheating and plagiarism and suggests how to avoid such misuses of responsibility.

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ISTE NETS Standard 3: Using technology, and using it well.

As schools attempt to keep up with ever-changing technology and reach students who are more technologically inclined than ever, they are being faced with decisions to make great financial commitments. The decision to turn to new technologies like interactive whiteboards and document cameras can be an extremely beneficial one, provided that teachers are prepared to embrace them. The ISTE NETS Standard 3 addresses this issue by suggesting that teachers “exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in global and digital society.” Furthermore, the standard says that teachers should “demonstrate fluency in technology systems and the transfer of current knowledge to new technologies.” That being said, now more than ever teachers need to be well-versed in the technologies available to them in order to make them effective teaching tools.

Take, for example, the interactive whiteboard. After doing some research on the effects of this technology in the classroom, it is clear that they have much to offer students and teachers alike. However, what use is a $3000 piece of equipment if a teacher is not ready and eager to use it? Jan Lacina, in the article “Interactive Whiteboards: Creating Higher-Level, Technological Thinkers?” proposes the idea that schools should be selective in which classrooms or teachers receive interactive whiteboards and that they be adequately prepared to integrate into their daily lessons.[1] If a teacher is willing and ready to use the technology, they can open up a world of opportunities for their students.

Once teachers are comfortable using the technology, some argue it will even save them time in the long run—a literature review by Smith, et al shows that teachers who invest time into using IWBs can actually “save, share, and re-use lesson materials.”[2] To read more about the benefits and drawbacks to IWBs, as well as read further research on their affect on student learning, visit this website put together for a group project for this Teaching with Technology class. Although the research is not exhaustive, it clearly shows the advantages to not only having technology available for use, but the importance of teachers being able to use it well.


[1] Lacina, J. (2009). Interactive Whiteboards: Creating Higher-Level, Technological Thinkers?. Childhood Education, 85(4), 270. Retrieved from ERIC database.

[2] Smith, H., Higgins, S., Wall, K., & Miller, J. (2005). Interactive whiteboards: boon or bandwagon? A critical review of the literature. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning, vol 21(2), pgs. 91-101.

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ISTE NETS Standard 2: Keeping Up with Technology

There is no question that students today have been exposed to a great deal of technology, and, in general, they feel comfortable using it in their everyday lives. That being the case, Wheeler et al state that “it has never been more imperative for educators to understand how to adapt new technologies and software into real teaching contexts.” (Wheeler, et al.) How can we as teachers apply this knowledge in our classrooms? The ISTE NETS Standard 2 calls teachers to “design or adapt relevant learning experiences” using “contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning…” In order to make learning relevant and meaningful to students, we should be using an avenue with which they are comfortable—the internet and other computer technology.

This use of technology in the classroom has also altered the way that teachers teach. These resources have allowed teachers to implement more “student-led collaborative learning where teachers adopt a supportive role,” according to Wheeler. This alteration of teaching further addresses the ISTE NETS Standard 2 as students can “pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants…managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress.” Salomon & Perkins, as quoted by Niederhauser and Lindstrom, say that this shift means that the learner will find an “active engagement in assembling, extending, restoring, interpreting…constructing knowledge out of raw materials of experience and provided information.”

One way that teachers can address this issue is by using WebQuests. A WebQuest, as defined by “QuestGarden” is designed “to create lessons that make good use of the web, engage learners in applying higher level thinking to authentic problems, and use everyone’s time well.” Using WebQuests gives students the opportunity to learn at their own pace with methods that work best for their learning style. The activities can also be designed in a way that students are encouraged to learn about something that really interests them, all the while practicing their computer and internet skills.

For part of this standard, I have begun creating a WebQuest assignment. Although far from finished, the goal of this assignment is to guide students through the process of choosing a research topic that will be interesting for them and meaningful for the class. The project towards which they will be working is in line with the 9th/10th grade World History CBA (Classroom Based Assessment).

Works Cited:

Guided inquiry made semi-easy. Retrieved from http://questgarden.com/.

Niederhauser, D., Lindstrom, D. (2006). Addressing the NETS for students through constructivist technology use in K-12 classrooms. J. Educational Computing Research, 34(1), 91-128.

Wheeler, S., Yeomans, P., & Wheeler, D. (2008). The good, the bad, and the wiki: Evaluating student-generated content for collaborative learning. British Journal of Educational Technology, 39 (6), 987-995.

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ISTE NETS Standard 1: Collaboration and Technology

There is extensive research to show that students learn well when they learn from one another. Collaborative learning can, and should, assume an important role in the classroom, and developing technology is able to play a large and very useful role in the process. The ISTE NETS Standard 1 says that teachers will “Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity.” It continues to state that teachers “use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation…” Using computers allows teachers to reach beyond the typical tools in the classroom to access the wealth of information on the internet. Crook says that, “in particular, computers offer a medium in which abstract material can be rendered accessible through creating visible and manipulable representations.” In other words, technology can help teachers present alternate means to understanding a concept. Thanks to Howard Gardner, we remember that not all students learn the same way—using technology can help teachers address these differences.

That being said, can technology play a part in encouraging students to work collaboratively? Absolutely! Marc Perry’s brief article on Google Wave shows how even this tool can be a very valuable addition to a classroom. Not only does the technology allow students within the class to connect, it also presents the opportunity for different classes to work together. The inter-disciplinary work gives students a meaningful experience while connecting them to other students.

This standard is important for my (future) classroom for many reasons—one of the most important to me, however, is the fact that I will be able to interact with my students through medias with which they are comfortable. What I mean by this is that many students are very comfortable using technology for communication, pleasure, homework, etc., and encouraging them to use technology will be setting them up for success not only in their school career but also in life beyond school!

Using Pageflakes is just one way in which I as a teacher can address the ISTE NETS standards. One of the components involves “model[ing] collaborative knowledge construction by engaging in learning with students, colleagues, and others in face-to-face and virtual environments.” By using this, and other online resources like Google Wave, I can model to students the benefits of being connected to others via internet. I think that by encouraging students to find out what information and resources are available to them through Webquests or other online assignments gives them an opportunity to gain new skills for learning that they can use on their own.

Visit my Pageflakes site here.

Works Cited:

Crook, C. (1997). Children as computer users: The case of collaborative learning. Computers Education, 30, 237-247.

Perry, M. (2010). How to teach with google wave. The Chronicle of higher education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogPost/How-to-Teach-With-Google-Wave/19501/

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Pageflakes Pagecast

http://www.pageflakes.com/melissarosejensen/

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