Technology has become an integral part of life for educators and their students. Regardless of whether the task is writing a short story, exploring information resources, examining cultural diversity, tracking a chemistry experiment, testing a mathematical concept, developing new instructional materials, or tracking grades, technology plays an increasingly important role in the teaching/learning process.
The purpose of education is to promote learning. The integration of technology into the teaching/learning environment is essential in preparing students for life in the 21st Century. Educators and students together can activate their learning environment through the effective use of technology.
Technology is much more than computers in the classroom. According to AECT (Association of Educational Communications and Technology, 2006), educational technology is "the study and ethical practice of facilitating learning and improving performance by creating, using and managing appropriate technoloogical processes and resources."
Technology involves all kinds of hardware including computers, DVDs, scanners, digital video cameras, and even overhead projectors. Technology includes a variety of software from word processing and databases to multimedia and virtual reality. Most important, educational technology deals with issues of selection, design, development, implementation, and evaluation of all kinds of teaching/learning environments.
According to the NETS (National Educational Technology Standards), to be successful in today's information-rich society, students must be able to use technology effectively. Technology enables students to become (ISTE: International Society for Technology in Education, 2004):
• Capable information technology users
• Information seekers, analyzers, and evaluators
• Problem solvers and decision makers
• Creative and effective users of productivity tools
• Communicators, collaborators, publishers, and producers
• Informed, responsible, and contributing citizens
Through chapter readings and activities, this book will address the following ISTE NETS for Teachers.
• Teachers demonstrate a sound understanding of technology operations and concepts.
• Teachers plan and design effective learning environments and experiences supported by technology.
• Teachers implement curriculum plans, that include methods and strategies for applying technology to maximize student learning.
• Teachers apply technology to facilitate a variety of effective assessment and evaluation strategies.
• Teachers use technology to enhance their productivity and professional practice.
• Teachers understand the social, ethical, legal, and human issues surrounding the use of technology in PK-12 schools and apply those principles in practice.
It is hoped that these professional skills will help you address the student information, technology, and content area standards in your teaching area.
Building Treehouses for Learning
When you were growing up, did you ever build a treehouse? You may have built your treehouse in an old oak tree using odd-shaped pieces of wood, leftover housepaint, and old blankets and pieces of carpet. Adding a portable radio, some Twinkies, and a big "KEEP OUT" sign made your world complete. If you didn't have a tree close by or preferred your fun without mosquitos, a blanket over a cardtable in the living room worked just as well. Think about the learning that takes place in this kind of environment: from the mathematics of calculating the length of boards to the physics of keeping the treehouse from tipping over. Consider the social interactions with friends and the art of interior decorating. Building a treehouse is the ultimate active, authentic, interdisciplinary activity. Children are doing what they want to do, using materials around them, and dealing with real-world problems without "social studies" or "science" tags.
Think about how often parents buy their children "prefab" playhouses that are built and painted by adults, then placed carefully in the corner of the yard. Parents end up having all the "fun". Educators invest a lot of effort building treehouses for children too. An alternative would be to provide a wealth of materials that students can use for exploration and construction. An inquiry-based, technology-rich learning environment focusing on particular concepts, topics, or themes can focus student learning without distracting from exploration.
Are you building treehouses for your students? Or, are you giving students the chance to create their own treehouses for learning? This book will discuss how you can create learning environments that provide students with the tools they need to create their own treehouses for learning. We'll explore tools you might use in planning, producing, and presenting information in your classroom. Technology tools range from chalkboards and overhead projectors to computers, digital cameras, and Internet. You'll develop materials yourself as well as integrate materials that have been produced by others.
Why Another Book?
There are many excellent books in the area of Educational Technology. Many of these are listed in the references at the end of the book. Why do we need another book when so many are already available? The need became clear when I switched from teaching in a department that prepared educational technologists to a undergraduate teacher preparation program.
My goal was to develop a sophomore level course that would help preservice teachers activate the learning environment through the use of technology. I wanted to focus on both teacher and K-12 student use of technology while encouraging the development of hands-on projects and practical lesson plans. Rather than teaching the specifics of learning theories or equipment operation, I've focused on those skills I feel are most important for beginning teachers entering the profession in the new century.
Although designed with preservice teachers in mind, inservice teachers and graduate students will also find this book to be a valuable resource. Because schools often have a wide range of hardware and software, this book is not platform specific. In other words, you'll see references to computers running Windows and Macintosh as well as other operating systems.
Overview of Book
You'll find four major sections in this book. The first section addresses instructional design and development. Chapter one focuses on developing effective teaching/learning environments. It also provides guidance in instructional development and specifically lesson planning. Chapter two explores the hardware and software you'll need to create and implement your lesson plans and projects.
The second section of the book will help you integrate all kinds of technologies into the classroom. Chapter three explores communication on the Internet and chapter four examines teaching and learning with Internet. Chapter five focuses on educational software. You'll learn to use video in the classroom including educational television, DVDs, and streaming video in chapter six. We'll also explore teaching and learning at a distance using two-way video/audio systems.
The third section focuses on designing and developing effective informational and instructional materials. Chapter seven focuses on the design of print materials. Creating wall, table, and stand-alone displays is the emphasis of chapter eight. You'll learn to create projected materials in chapter nine. Chapter ten will help you produce your own videos. Multimedia development is the focus of chapter eleven and you'll learn about web page development in chapter twelve.
The last section examines issues and ideas for dealing with management and evaluation of learning environments. Chapter thirteen addresses important technology integration techniques as well as suggestions for managing technology in the classroom. A glossary, reference list, appendix, and index can be found at the end of the text.
In this book you'll learn the "nuts and bolts" of integrating technology into your classroom. We'll use the "building" theme throughout the book.
Along the margins of the book you'll find "Treehouse Tips" to remind you about key concepts. You might even want to add your own tips as reminders to yourself!
"Internet Connections" will provide Internet resources that will be helpful in expanding your exploration and learning. Remember that the Internet is constantly changing. If the address no longer works, try using a search engine and search by the topic or title provided.
"Try Its" get you involved with creating activities and materials. You can't just read about technology, you've got to do it!
Have fun building treehouses for learning! For online resources related to this book, go to
Annette Lamb, November 2005
Environments & Multiple Intelligences
have strengths and weaknesses. A key to developing an
effective teaching/learning environment is building on
these strengths and overcoming weaknesses. To do this we
must analyze how our students learn best and develop
effective instructional strategies to meet these needs.
Unfortunately this can be difficult because each child is
unique. What works for one student may be ineffective for
another learner. A teaching strategy that works for the
educator next door, may not work for you. To understand
why these differences occur, we need to explore our
intelligences and learning styles.
defines intelligence as the ability to solve everyday
problems, generate new problems, and offer a service or
resource to society. Gardner's theory of multiple
intelligence emphasizes that individuals don't just have
one fixed intelligence. Instead, at least seven distinct
intelligences may emerge over a lifetime including
verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, visual-spatial,
(words). Good readers and writers or students who are
keenly aware of the nuances, order, and rhythm of words
are showing their verbal-linguistic intelligence. They
can "think" in words and use language to express their
(numbers/problem solving). The ability to solve
complex mathematical problems, manipulate abstract
patterns and relationships, and reason inductively and
deductively are skills associated with
(pictures/images). Students who are able to create
visual-spatial representations of the world and "think in
pictures" are said to have visual-spatial intelligence.
These students "think" in three-dimensions and can easily
recreate, transform, and modify images to meet their
(tone/rhythm/timbre). A sensitivity to music
including the pitch and the rhythm of sounds is a sign of
musical-rhythmic intelligence. These people pick up
melodies and always seem to "think" in music and
(movement). Using the body to express ideas or
emotions, develop materials, and solve problems is the
focus of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.
(social understanding). The ability to work well with
others, empathize with the goals, motivation, and
purposes of others is a sign of interpersonal-social
(self-knowledge/metacognition). Students who are
deeply aware of their own feelings, abilities, goals, and
purposes are demonstrating their
has a combination of these intelligences and is capable
of growth in all the areas. As a teacher, it's important
to be aware of your own intelligences as well as those of
your students. Use the multiple intelligences to add
variety to your classroom, motivate students, and develop
new areas of skill.
students use their strengths to develop their weak areas.
Let's say a student is asked to write a paper about the
characters in a novel. You might encourage a student who
does well with visual-spatial tasks to begin by drawing a
diagram showing the relationships between characters.
They can use this as a guide in their writing.
becoming aware of your own intelligences. If you're a
person who learns best through the logical-mathematical
intelligence, you may develop more activities for this
area. However, remember that your students may be strong
in other areas. As you develop curriculum, focus on
meeting the needs of a wide range of student learning
styles by applying the intelligences. For example, you
may like to plan projects using a traditional outline
format. However you may find that some students are
better able to express their ideas through a visual map,
series of note cards, picture web of ideas, or a verbal
and Multiple Intelligences
can play a central role in meeting the diverse needs of
your learners. The varied channels of communication
represented in educational technology can be matched to
particular intelligences. Consider technologies that
might help a student strengthen an area of intelligence.
For example, let's say students are practicing science
vocabulary. Some students might learn most effectively by
hearing the words pronounced aloud. A computer or tape
recorder could help a student listen to a recording
created by a teacher or record and playback their own
voice. Another student might like to see a picture of the
science object and click on the visual to hear the word.
A multimedia software package would work well for that
can be a motivating way for students to cross
intelligence areas. For example, let's examine a student
who hates reading, but does well in musical-rhythmic,
visual-spatial, or bodily-kinesthetic. Interactive
reading software that extends reading to include music,
pictures, and movement may foster learning. In the same
way, a student who does well in verbal-linguistic may
have a hard time making friends and interacting with
others. Use written communication through email
technology to help this student increase his or her
interpersonal-social intelligence. Since the learner is
comfortable with writing but uncomfortable with "live
interaction", the email communication can be one step
toward developing live interpersonal relationships. The
next step may be written, live chats. Then, add video and
audio elements. Live interactions may come more easily
once the student becomes comfortable communicating their
ideas to others.
can support all of the intelligence areas. The
logical-mathematical area can be developed through the
use of software such as Millie's Mathhouse and Math
Workshop. Educational software tools such as The
Crunchers and The Geometric Sketchpad can help students
develop spreadsheets and models, organize information,
try out ideas, and solve math problems. Simulation
software like Science Sleuths help students investigate
problems and test hypotheses. Simulations can also be
found on the Internet. For example, the Virtual Fly Lab
is an Internet site that helps students examine genetics
in flies. Internet can also be used as a way to
collaborate on scientific experiments (see Figure 1-9).
For example, students living at three different
elevations could compare the results of chemistry
experiments through email. What's the effect of altitude
on baking? Why?
that contain manipulatives can help promote skills in
classification and other important math and science
skills. Technology can be used to record and analyze data
during these hands-on activities.
in the verbal-linguistic area includes resources that
support the reading and writing area. For example,
writing center could include computer and writing
software, paper and pencils, and project starters.
Software such as ClarisWorks for Kids, The Writing Center
and Amazing Writing Machine provide easy-to-use writing
and editing tools for children. Word processing allows
students to easily follow the writing process (see Figure
1-10). They don't have to worry about "erasing" and
"rewriting" because these steps are no longer a chore. In
addition, the final printed copy is professional looking,
polished, and something students are proud to display.
love to explore information presented in books and CDs,
so develop a research area in your classroom where
students can explore answers to their questions. Many
teachers develop a language area with tape recorders,
earphones, and books on tape.
can also assist students who have trouble expressing
themselves because of a range of disabilities.
Specialized hardware and software can assist visually,
hearing, or physically impaired students communicate more
can also be used by teachers to develop and revise print
materials such as step-by-step instructions, sample
writing projects, and printed activities.
visual-spatial intelligence can incorporate many
technology resources. Start with simple tools such as
paper, markers, and crayons to help students visualize
ideas in the form of concept maps, mindmaps, webs, and
laserdiscs, films, slides, transparencies and other
visual media are often associated with this area.
Students can view materials created by others, or develop
their own visual productions using video cameras, color
scanners, digital cameras, and other technology. While
some students prefer to create their projects with
traditional tools such as pencils, markers, and paints,
others use computer-based graphics tools such as KidPix
for visual expression. Software such as KidCAD help
children design projects in 3D. Clip Art CDs provide lots
of visuals to illustrate student projects. Many students
put all these elements together and develop multimedia
projects in HyperStudio and Digital Chisel. Some students
get involved with more high-end tools such as Adobe
PhotoShop for editing visuals and Adobe Premiere for
video editing (see Figure 1-11).
many people view technology as passive, it can actually
play an important role in the bodily-kinesthetic
intelligence area. Technology tools such as the computer
mouse, keyboard, light pen, scientific probe, video
camera, and hand scanner encourage students to use their
fine motor skills to develop hands-on projects. The
eye-hand coordination and active participation involved
in using the technology can be reinforcing for a student
who might not normally choose the content related to the
hands-on activity. In addition, many students enjoy
watching themselves on videotape whether they're dancing,
playing a sport, or acting in a skit. Video is also a
great way to document student performance. While other
intelligences are expressed on paper or through music,
videotape is the most effective way to capture a
and learning centers can be designed to provide space for
movement and objects to touch and explore. Design
activities that involve students in drama, dance, or
creative movement. Even short skits and debates can get
students moving and expressing themselves in physical
trips are a great concrete learning experience. Use
technology such as video cameras, digital cameras, and
portable computers to record and reflect on these
experiences. Field trips don't have to involve physical
movement to be effective. Virtual field trips can give
students the feeling of exploring the Arctic or looking
inside a volcano without having to leave the classroom.
Virtual field trips use the Internet to bring scientists,
experiments, and exploration into the classroom. By
asking questions, running robots by remote control, and
following a travel schedule, students feel involved with
the project. Virtual reality will soon be able to add an
even more kinesthetic aspect to virtual field
musical-rhythmic intelligence focuses on sound. A music
area that includes tape recorders, CD-audio players, and
sound-making objects and instruments can help students
explore sound. Educational software such as A Little
Kidmusic, Practica Musica 3, and Songworks provide
resources for exploring and creating music.
can develop great multimedia projects that incorporate
original tones, rhythms, and timbre. They can also use
digital sound effects CDs and other sound resources to
add background sounds to stories, plays, and other
technology to enhance the interpersonal intelligence.
Small group computer activities encourage students to
collaborate. Many simulations require students to work as
a team to solve a problem or explore an issue. Software
such as Tom Snyder's Decisions, Decisions series focus on
social or environmental issues. Get students involved
with online communication where they can telecommunicate
with other learners around the world on important issues
technology as a tool to help students enhance their
interpersonal intelligence. For example, some students
feel uncomfortable speaking in a group setting. Using
videotape or audiotape during practice can make students
feel more confident.
intrapersonal intelligence can also make use of
technology. For example, computers are great tools for
reflective journal writing or drawing pictures about
their feelings. Videotape is also a good tool for
self-analysis. For example, you might tape a small group
discussion and ask students to watch and reflect on their
is the key to designing learning environments that focus
on a range of intelligences and technologies. Let's say
that your class is involved with creating skits or short
plays that focus on a particular genre such as tragedy or
irony. One group might use the software called Hollywood
to develop and perform a play all on the computer screen
including sounds, narration, and animated characters.
Another group might use technology for writing a script
or building a storyboard, then use a videocamera to
record their sounds and movements. A "rock opera" might
be the product of a third group that uses a keyboard
hooked to the computer as background music for a modern
song and dance project. They would all learn about the
creation of a drama, but each group might apply their
intelligences a different way.
Planning and Multiple Intelligences
develop lesson plans, consider each intelligence. Develop
activities that ask students to apply their intelligences
in meaningful ways. In your attempt to incorporate every
area, you may have a difficult time identifying
activities or you may simply not have the time in every
lesson to allow multiple projects. Don't worry. You don't
need to incorporate all seven into every lesson. Instead
look at your unit as a whole. Do you meet the learning
needs of your students? Do you provide a variety of
activities that draw on student strength areas and
develop weak areas? Do you use a variety of communication
channels and types of media?