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Using Technology in the Classroom

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Getting Started with ANGEL

ANGEL is the Course Management System used at Penn State. By using ANGEL, you can provide resources to your students electronically, contact students who are enrolled in your courses, and manage your grading with the gradebook tool. You can also develop fully online activities and courses by using ANGEL. It is a powerful accompaniment to your teaching tool belt, allowing you to design activities, communicate more effectively with students, and manage your assessment plan.

To get started with ANGEL, attend a workshop (offered several times a year as needed), request one-on-one assistance (scs15@psu.edu) , or use these valuable handouts to dive in and get started!

ANGEL Community Hub - all things ANGEL can be found here!
5 Things Everyone Should Know about ANGEL 7.3

Using Technology to Incorporate the Seven Principles of Good Practice

Arthur Chickering and Zelda Gamson conducted extensive research to compile a list of the seven principles that define good teaching practice in higher education.  The seven principles state that good practice:

  • Encourages contact between students and faculty

  • Develops reciprocity and cooperation among students

  • Uses active learning techniques

  • Gives prompt feedback.

  • Emphasizes time on task

  • Communicates high expectations

  • Respects diverse talents and ways of knowing 

 Chickering later extended his findings to include the integration of technology into these seven principles in an article entitled, Implementing the Seven Principles: Technology as Lever. (Association of Higher Education. Retrieved June 8, 2006). The article addresses the ways in which technology can support the integration of the seven principles into your teaching practice. It is well worth the read. ANGEL tools make it easy to incorporate the use of technology into your classes. Another great resource on the seven principles is available including ideas for implementation (written by Dr. Patti Bartlett at Montgomery College's Center for Teaching and Learning) on the web. Read a short synopsis. 

Why is technology integration important?
(excerpted in part from an article by the George Lucas Foundation. Retrieved on August 18, 2008 at http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction )
 What makes technology use successful?  First and foremost, it should serve the attainment of your course objectives. Using technology just for the sake of using a new tool is meaningless, if it doesn't support your learning goals for your students.

A useful guiding principle: Don't mistake the USE of technology with the INTEGRATION of technology. 

1. It is part of our students' lives and can be a powerful motivator when it engages students in classroom activities

2. Technology use (when well-planned) can reinforce the development of workplace skills students need when they graduate:

• Planning, critical thinking, reasoning, and creativity
• Strong communication skills, both for interpersonal and presentation needs
• Cross-cultural understanding
• Visualizing and decision-making
• Knowing how and when to use technology and choosing the most appropriate tool for the task
 

3. Technology use can help build the faculty/student relationship

4. There is a growing body of evidence that reports that technology integration positively effects academic achievement by: engaging students in learning, promoting teamwork skills, priding frequent and meaningful feedback, and providing access to real-world situations and experts.  Read more about technology integration and the research on its effects on academic achievement.

Using the Internet in Instruction

The Internet can significantly expand the resources you provide to your students, bring the real world into your classroom, improve student motivation by incorporating relevant and timely topics, connect your classroom to a global perspective, provide tools to create projects, build knowledge, and community in and outside the class, and provide access to materials and resources 24/7. With all this to enrich the classroom experience, who wouldn't want to tap into the resources! With this said, it is also important to remember to tie whatever you are doing with technology to your course and lesson objectives. If the Internet activity you have planned doesn't support their attainment, then its use is questionable.To give us a framework for integration, let's think about some of the ways we and our students may currently use the Internet: as consumers, creators, and participants. Keep in mind that when designing class activities, get your students involved. It doesn't have to be all you. Let them provide the resources, create projects, and build opportunities to connect to the outside world!

Consumers  As consumers, we use the Internet to find information. In educational endeavors, the Internet can provide  an overwhelming amount of information on any given topic. A Google search on "learning styles" for instance, returns 8.5 million hits! As instructors, we can help our students learn to hone searches and evaluate the information found on the web in order to make sound choices about the information that they use in scholarly work. Share these sites about evaluating web pages with your students: http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/Evaluate.html
http://www.library.cornell.edu/olinuris/ref/research/webcrit.html
http://www.lib.duke.edu/libguide/evaluating_web.htmWhat are some of the resources available on the web? Web pages, multi-media (graphics, video, audio, and podcasts), search engines (Google, Altavista, Yahoo, etc. See below for an expanded list), library resources, software downloads, blogs, wikis, chat rooms, and the list goes on and on and on and on.... Let students find and evaluate websites pertinent to your content area and start to compile a list of great sites that you can use over and over again in different ways.Here is a list of other award winning search engines:
www.dogpile.com
http://vivisimo.com/
http://www.kartoo.com
http://www.mamma.com
http://www.surfwax.com

I also use http://www.ask.com when I have some specific question in mind, like, "How do I embed audio files into my web page?" A great tool to get started on a new quest.

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Creators  We use the Internet to get information, but sometimes we want to use the tools there to create things as well.

E-portfolio sites allow your students to compile samples of their work into a visual space that can be shared around the world. Penn State provides this service for faculty, students, and staff HERE.

iPods/podcasting are the hot topic these days. According to Wikipedia, the word podcast is a compound word combining "iPod" and "broadcast". Podcasts provide a way to make multi-media files such as audio, music, or video readily available through mobile devices such as iPods or on the Internet through iTunes or other mp3 (compressed audio file) players. Many news organizations, such as CNN, provide podcasts of news reports that may have relevance for classroom use. Penn State is developing resources on podcasting at its site, http://podcasts.psu.edu.The portability of podcasts makes them highly attractive for educational applications. Students can download podcasted lectures (or other podcasts relevant to course content) onto portable players and listen at their convenience, catching up with new material, or reviewing previously studied topics. Duke University was the frontrunner in implementing podcasting for educational purposes. In a 2004 report on academic uses of podcasting at Duke, five broad categories are named: course content dissemination, classroom recording, field recording, study support, and file storage and transfer. For more information, read Duke's 2004 report on their results (http://cit.duke.edu/pdf/ipod_initiative_04_05.pdf).Get the free download (http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/) of iTunes to listen to podcasts on your computer. After you install iTunes, try it out by listening to an NPR podcast from several programs http://www.npr.org/rss/podcast/podcast_directory.php. The link provides instructions and help on how to use iTunes if needed. The site, Audacity, provides a free audio recording application which allows you to record and edit audio clips from a microphone at your PC.

Websites can be a powerful way for students to display their academic work. Most students have the Microsoft Office package which includes FrontPage software. This is a software that allows you to create web pages. Students, faculty, and staff can also get web space at PSU to upload the finished websites. Link to handouts how to upload web pages into PSU personal web space are available. A complete list of PSU web FAQs is also available.

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Collaborators - Community Building - Social ComputingOnce we've found some interesting websites, reflected on a learning event, or created a new website or other online resource, we often want to share what we've discovered with others! Social computing is the new term to describe the kinds of things we do with computing that connect us to others, and help us to build new knowledge.... Blogs, wikis, online meetings and conferences, survey tools, instant messaging, and e-mail are just some of the ways, old and new, that we connect to each other and share ideas and resources. Read an Educause Quarterly article with an overview of these tools.

Blog, a shortened form of "web log", is a web space that allows comments on particular topics from anyone with an Internet connection and access to the blog web address. Blogs came to national attention during the 2004 presidential election. Various interest groups began to connect and discuss the issues of the day and their comments actually made their way into the mainstream media. Today, blogs are regular features on most major news websites -  New York Times and NPR to name a few. They provide a way for people to connect with others and discuss topics of interest from a multitude of viewpoints. Twitter is a microblog with 140 characterl imit per posting. Get your own PSU Blog at http://blogs.psu.edu/

Wikis - According to Wikipedia (one of the most famous wikis!), a wiki is "a type of website that allows users to add, remove, or otherwise edit and change all content very quickly and easily, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaboration." In educational settings, wikis can be used for knowledge building activities. For example, at Penn State York, a wiki was designed to gather resources and input around the topic of learning communities. Visit the site to see what a wiki looks like. Notice there is an area for resources as well as discussion and sharing. Because users have the ability to change the contents of the website, registration (or invitation) is often required to participate in some wikis. If you are interested in entering the learning community wiki to get a feel for how they work, contact me for access. Carnegie Mellon also has a very useful collaboration tool that is available to the education public for free called the KeepToolKit

Online Meetings -  Adobe's Breeze Meeting provides a way for people in remote locations to gather via the Internet to hold their meetings. Tools allow participants to see, hear, and chat with each other using video conferencing capability, as well as providing the capability to share files, project PowerPoint presentations, and collaborate using whiteboard spaces, shared weblinks, and polling access. PSU is currently gathering resources for faculty use and negotiating the availability of this useful product for PSU faculty and staff.

Videoconferencing - Are you doing videoconferencing and want to know about best practices and how to get started? Check out this  helpful resource: http://clc.its.psu.edu/Classrooms/Help/Videoconferencing.pdf

Social Networks - Facebook.com and MySpace.com are two online social directories that students, faculty, and staff can join to meet people and share information. Currently, Facebook has over 7 million users. A recent poll found that almost 80% of all college students have a profile in Facebook, spending an average of 20 minutes a day using the site. Anyone with a valid school, college, or work e-mail account can join and link to other individuals or groups with similar interests. For example, a Penn State student group exists currently in Facebook with over 1,162 current discussion board postings by PSU students! Students go there to sell books, talk about current events, meet others, and just to congregate! Listen to Danah Boyd's Keynote address at the 2009 TLT Symposium about living and learning with social media.

The widespread use of these social directories shows the extent to which current students are connected online! Understanding this about our students can help us to design class activities that meet your objectives but also incorporate the social aspects of contemporary students, building motivation and interest into what we are doing in the classroom.

Resources

To read more about incorporating technology into instruction, visit the links below.

EDUCAUSE article: Think Small! A Beginner's Guide to Using Technology to Promote Learning

PSU's Teaching and Learning with Technology

TLT Symposium recordings and resources

PSU's Reasearch on Teaching, Learning & technology

See a variety of Internet tools to use in your classes GO

Carnegie Mellon Keep Tool

New Media Consortium's Horizon Report

Bryant, T. (2006). Social Software in Academia. EDUCAUSE Quarterly. Vol.29 No.2. Retrieved from the Internet on August 5, 2006 at http://www.educause.edu/apps/eq/eqm06/eqm0627.asp

Student Learning. CARET: Center for Applied Research in Educational Technology. Retrieved from the Internet on June 8, 2006 at http://caret.iste.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=questions&topicID=1

Why do We Need Technology Integration? The George Lucas Education Foundation. Retrieved from the Internet on June 8, 2006 at http://www.edutopia.org/technology-integration-introduction

List of online journals: Technology & Education


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Page last updated 06/18/2009
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Suzanne C. Shaffer, M.Ed., MS.Ed.
Instructional Design eLearning Support
Penn State York Campus
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