Friday, August 8, 2008

Journal 6

Van Dusen, Lani M., & Worthen, Blaine R. (1995). Can integrated instructional technology transform the classroom?. Educational Leadership. 53, [28-33].

Can integrated instructional technology transform the classroom?

Computer-based integrated learning system (ILS) is a system that runs on networked hardware and includes management software as well as courseware. This system has great potential when implemented to its full capacity. ILS instruction covers subject areas such as math, language arts, computer skills, social studies, foreign languages and ESL programs for all grade levels (K-12). This learning system goes beyond practice problems where, students are challenged to delve into complex problem stimulating reflection and mastery of the material. In addition, ILS tracks students’ progress with the generation of an assessment file for each student. The teacher has the capability to partake in one-on-one tutor sessions with his/her students. As a result, the teacher is able to cater to each student’s needs by tailoring specific instruction. Furthermore, the role of the teacher is altered, no longer does the teacher purge knowledge regularly. Now the teacher is more of a facilitator: guiding their students through exercises, coaching through the learning process, and focusing on small groups. Even with all of these advantages, if ILS is used as a supplement rather than an integral part of a lesson, the efficacy is not as prevalent. Fortunately, this article has provided the reader with six guidelines to follow in order to achieve maximum effectiveness of ILS and they are as follows: 1) A sound implementation guide, 2) An appropriate hardware configuration, 3) Adequate time on the ILS program, 4) Adequate computer equipment, 5) Effective ILS teaching (not as a supplement to the classroom), and 6) Supportive, visionary administrators. The article’s concluding remarks stresses that schools and their faculty must be committed to adopting ILS in order to reap the educational benefits of the system.

How can using ILS transform the classroom?

Students are engaged with learning since ILS provides instant gratification and animated activities. ILS is a computerized learning resource that facilitates research and exploration of technology relevant tools. Lastly, each student is given instruction that fits his or her unique needs.

How long does it take for a school to fully adopt ILS?

A minimum of three years is suggested coupled with patience and flexibility.

Journal 3

10th Annual Summer Leadership Institute
Lecture 1

On the 17th of July 2008, Dr. Richard Villa provided a captivating and informative lecture entitled, Restructuring for Caring and Effective Education. He addressed his audience by posing five questions regarding the possible future for education: 1) What is the destination, 2) Who is invited, 3) What routes can be taken, 4) How will educators get there and 5) How will educators know they are “there?” Constant reference was made to the “Circle of Courage” whereby, belonging, generosity, mastery and independence are its quadrants. As Dr. Villa navigated through the posed questions, “simplistic solution(s) to a complex problem,” was provided. The following suggestions were provided to the above questions respectively. The destination for students is the same for all goals of education (e.g. the Circle of Courage) in an inclusive environment whereby, all of the members of society receive equal education as deemed by their democratic right. To tackle question three, Dr. Villa, demonstrated scenarios where there exists excellence without equity, vis-a-versa, and having both concurrently. After his demonstrations, he concluded that excellence couldn’t exist without equity and the same for the converse; sharing, teamwork, collaboration and creativity will prevail when equity and excellence are both utilized. To achieve this harmony (answer to question 4), Dr. Villa insists that there must be vision, skills, incentives, resources, and an action plan before effective change can occur in education. To conclude, the culture that has been created will be the qualitative indicator that the future destination of education has been satisfied. This culture is that of artistry, care, collaboration, embracing and valuing diversity. Dr. Villa’s words provided me with great inspiration. I enjoyed his arguments, history lessons; sense of humor and his ability to play is own devil’s advocate.
To learn more about Dr. Villa visit:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Journal 5

Transforming School Communities: Creating Dialogue Using Web 2.0 Tools

Soule, Helen (August 2008). Transforming School Communities: Creating Dialogue Using Web 2.0 Tools. Learning & Leading With Technology, 36(1), 12-15.

Helen Soule believes that with the use of web 2.0 tools in the classroom, provides opportunities for everyone and that communication throughout the district can flourish. One technological tool that can afford this is a blog. A blog can be made for the communities within the district. The blog can house discussions of current topics in education as well as lesson plans. The possibilities for the types of discussions that can take place are endless. In order to take part on these discussions by way of a blog, one must become a member. Having a membership allows community members to take part and familiarize themselves with the technology of blogging. There are certain steps that are recommended to follow when creating a blog. These steps are as follows: 1) know your audience/who you are speaking to, 2) provide clear messages: the clearer the message the better the response, 3) make it possible for interaction posing questions to get others more involved. Using web 2.0 tools can be used to educate and to be educated.


Does having a classroom blog cause a decrease in social interaction among students?

In this technological based society a lot of communication is performed through technology-based medium (e.g. e-mail, text messaging). Having a classroom blog exposes children to another form of communication. With a classroom blog, the students are able to work collaboratively with one another and share ideas. These types of interactions are key for their survival.

How would a student without computer access at home be able to partake in the classroom blog?

As a future educator, I will offer my students with opportunities to use the campus facilities at opportune times in order to complete assignments.

Journal 4 (Classroom 2.0)

Blogs in the classroom? I have had my preconceived notions about the world of blogging and not for one minute did I think that constructing a blog for a classroom would be something that can be rewarding for both teachers and students alike. Through my most recent experiences, I have discovered that a blog can provide a sense of community that can enrich any curriculum. Having my students create their own blog for the class provides them with a sense of belonging and ownership to a cohesive whole. As an educator, I am able to post assignments and links to resources. The classroom blog within of itself provides a forum for students to discuss amongst each other assignments where they can collaboratively work with each other. It goes without saying that having a classroom blog also provides technology rich exposure. Lastly, parents will have access to the classroom blog and can be in the know with the daily lives of their children. I look greatly forward to utilizing this tool.

The discussion board on Classroom 2.0 regarding blogging provides insight on the pros and cons of this application as well as tips for the proper utilization (trouble shooting). With the emergence of this technology and others of the like, it is good to know that there exists a site where teachers can come together and share their experiences using various technology rich tools in the classroom.

Journal 2

The Laptops Are Coming! The Laptops Are Coming!

McFarlane, S. H. (Summer 2008). The laptops are coming! The laptops are coming!. Rethinking Schools Online, 22 No. 4, Retrieved August 7, 2008, from

In this article, Sarah Heller McFarlane discusses her experience with personal laptops in the classroom whereby each student was provided their very own computer. Each secondary student was given a personal computer that was for both school and home use. After one year, McFarlane has is not certain if each student having their own computer was a good move made by her district.

The distribution of the laptops afforded the closer of the accessibility gap between students due to their socioeconomic status. The students that could not afford technology in the home were now given a chance to develop and improve their skills that otherwise would be lacking. Conversely, McFarlane grew concerned of the practices that allowed each student to have their own laptop. Firstly, the teachers needed to be trained, which she deemed as oppressive with respect to the time it took. She felt that she was spending more time “policing” her students that were using the technology for non-educational purposes. Lastly, she had noticed that the social interaction between her students began to subside and wane.


How do you counteract the decrease in social interaction?

Utilize free web-based educational tools that help create a social environment. These tools include but are not limited to, a classroom Wiki and/or blog. Here the students are not denied technology experiences and are able to communicate with their peers through a community/collaborative environment.

How do you make sure that students are staying on task?

I am certain that there are ways in which to block sits that are tempting to secondary learners (e.g. Myspace). Therefore, I would think that it would be possible to format the personal laptops to strictly meet the requirements for their specific use. (?)


Journal 1

Extreme makeover: Updating Class Activities for the 21st Century

Shifflet, Rena & Toledo, Cheri (2008). Extreme Makeover: Updating Class Activities for the 21st Century. Learning and Leading with Technology. June/July, 34-35. Retrieved on august 7th, 2008 from,

As future educators in the 21st century we are responsible for providing our kids with up to date knowledge rich with technology. With the omnipresent budget cuts that seem relentless, it is refreshing to know that there exist a variety of free tools to enrich curriculums. All of the web-based tools that are discussed in this article provide students with more then an outlet to gain knowledge; they provide an opportunity to explore untapped creativity and an avenue to work collaboratively with their peers. Children in the 21st century are expected to be proficient with skills based in technology and having these tools readily available and free well, it makes my job a lot easier.

Is administration open to the idea of using web-based tools in the classroom?

To preface, my answer is just an attempt. There are a lot of dangers lurking on the World Wide Web so; it has now become the teacher’s priority to provide his/her students with tutorials based in safe and non-abusive practices. Also the person who erects web-based activities can monitor any changes made. With all of the above said, I think that there lies a greater number of advantages than disadvantages when using web-based tools. Therefore, administration may be open to the idea of these technology rich applications.

Blogging Right Along

Mader, J, & Smith, B (2008). Blogging Right Along. Learning and Leading with Technology, June/July, Retrieved August 7, 2008, from

Blogs can be used in the classroom as a way to assess students’ comprehension of material among other things. Having a blog in the classroom affords an environment of collaboration and a common ground for assignments and current events in the classroom. When used properly, blogging is a powerful technological tool that can be used in the classroom that automatically sets up a sense of community and belonging. I look greatly forward to teaching biology to high school students and I feel that having a classroom blog will provide my future students with a place to post and discuss assignments where then their peers can assist with any outstanding questions.

How does a classroom blog ensure that students are submitting quality assignments?

Since students post their assignments to a communal blog, they may be more concerned with their peers’ impressions. Also, a classroom blog is web-based and is thus can be available to the masses for viewing. With this said, students will take a sense of pride and ownership in their work and as a result produce quality assignments.