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Exemplary Use of Technology

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What is Exemplary Use of Technology? TEA defines it to a certain extent with the | TEKS for technology, | The Texas STaR chartand then with the | PDAS Teacher Scoring Guide.

How do keyboarding, PowerPoint, Kid Pix, CPS, Larson Math, Gradebook applications, etc. fit in to a definition of exemplary use of technology?

Prepare for Friday's discussion by looking at the star chart teaching and Learning section, PDAS scoring guide (page 77 of the document page 81 of the file), and the TEKS for Technology Apps (K-8). Tell what the exemplary teacher considers when planning for use of technology and give a brief description of a unit of study that shows exemplary use of technology. Put the portion of the TEKS, PDAS, or STaR chart that supports your decision. Jot your ideas down here and then prepare to discuss them in our meeting.

Charlie says: What an exemplary teacher should consider when planning for the use of technology should be nothing more than what he/she thinks about when planning for the use of paper and pencils, chalkboards, books, or any other tools. Use it to its full potential if it is a logical choice for a particular part of a lesson, the whole lesson, or a unit of study. The teacher should think of creative ways to use technology, ways that involve children actively rather than passively. Don't be hamstringed by what "it" can't do, but create an environment which promotes higher level skills.

Now, here is the rant section. "Exemplary use of technology" shouldn't singularly refer to how a particular piece of software is used but rather how an exemplary teacher utilizes all of the tools that are available to him/her, including the technological ones. If we are using the state guidelines as our measuring stick against our unified "exemplary use" ideal, then we're in trouble. I would feel more comfortable discussing teacher pedagogy rather than technology integration. Keyboarding, PowerPoint, Kid Pix, CPS, Larson Math, and Gradebook applications fit in to a definition of exemplary use of technology if these applications are used in a way that facilitates student success at high levels. If a teacher is getting students hands-on time, validating activities, promoting project/problem based learning, creating collaborative activities and using technology to do this, then that's exemplary use. However, teaching style has much to do with the HOW just as much as class make-up, boy-to-girl ratio, age level, subject, time of day, IEP's, technology availability, and a host of other aspects do. The great state and all its politicians and decision makers are slightly removed from the day-to-day operations of a classroom, and if we are going to insist that teachers follow a checklist to insure that they are using technology in an exemplary fashion, I'm afraid we be spitting in the wind.

I think that the STaR, PDAS, and TEKS sections that you have selected validate most of what I have said. Now, it doesn't do so in an itemized list, but it does in an overall "what does a good teacher do."

Jamie says: Then the nuts and bolts part of it all is, How do I use technology to solve a problem? How does technology affect my ability to think critically, and I teach kids to use higher order thinking skills, why does it matter whether they are using technology to do that?

Rob Says- Great discussion. This is why I like Dr.Moerch's Level of Technology Implementation Framework (Loti). It focuses technology as a tool within the process of learning. Loti understands that there may be other tools that work better for certain lessons. Loti puts more focus in the student's decision process and what levels of higher order thinking skills are used [1]

Charlie says: In response to the last question posed (I teach kids to use higher order thinking skills, why does it matter whether they are using technology to do that?), I feel that this belief is perfectly legitimate. Again, if the goal is to produce students who can think, then they (students) will use technology when technology is needed, as will teachers who truly teach their students to be thinkers and problem solvers.

Charlie offers this unit as an example of exemplary use of technology: Subject: Julius Caesar, the play by William Shakespeare.

I would probably begin my unit with a PowerPoint presentation on “Bill: The Man, The Myth, and the Master.” In this presentation, I would link to several sites in and around London (The Globe, Stratford on Avon). I would also have links to audio recordings of actors reading lines from Julius Caesar so the kids could hear what it is really supposed to sound like.

Another part of this unit would require groupings of students (4-5) to choose one of the following webquests, and then they would present on their findings (oral presentation, video, PowerPoint, or any other form depending on their topic and level of skills). The students could use wikis, blogs, and/or e-mail to collaborate prior to their presentations: The Globe Theatre The King’s Men William Shakespear’s Body of Works The Shakespearean Sonnett Culture and History in London during the late 1590’s to early 1600’s

I would also try to arrange a videoconference with a Shakespearean specialist, such as Dr. Douglas Krienke of Sam Houston State University, so that the kids could ask questions that might be pertinent to their presentation. I would try to get each of my classes to participate in some way but may be limited with time and scheduling. For those who could not participate in the IVC session(s), I would relay questions to Dr. Krienke via e-mail.

Finally, I would conclude the unit with another student presentation, again in groups of 4-5, on one of the five themes of Julius Caesar. It’s been so long, I can’t remember them all……The presentations would include difinitive examples supporting the validity of the theme and could be in the form of an oral presentation, video, PowerPoint, or any other form of presentation. The students could use wikis, blogs, and/or e-mail to collaborate prior to their presentations: Chaos results from broken social order. Ambition often blinds one to the truth.


And that would do it. Now, as for pairing this with PDAS, TEKS, and STaR Chart, I believe it fits pretty well on many different levels. It hits the Target Tech level in all of the Focus Areas (A, B, C, D, E, and F) in the Teaching and Learning area of the STaR Chart. Additionally, it could very well be Target Tech in the Educator Preparation and Development Focus Areas G and I. As for the PDAS, I would argue that this unit easily would be considered “Proficient” if not “Exceeds Expectations.” And, without a doubt, it blows away TEKS.

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