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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Technology in Education

Technology can increase student learning. Integrating technology into classroom instruction can enhance the presentation of the curriculum and promote a higher level of learning that is increases the rate that students can absorb the material.

Technology in the 20th Century

Technology has always been a part of learning. Technology includes inventions that increase human’s ability learn faster, adapt to the environment and to function in the world. At one point a pencil was a great technological invention. Now we are talking about Google glasses. There have been a lot of inventions over the years that have changed the way humans exist in the world. Technology has changed the way we travel and how we see and understand the wonders of the universe.

In the 20th century technology began to develop at a rapid pace. Much of this progress can be attributed to the use of the scientific method and other research techniques. Technologies such as radio, radar and sound recording lead the way for telephones, fax machines and eventually magnetic storage of data.  The US National Academy of Engineering (2012) voted and determined that the following 20 technological developments were the most important of the 20th century:

  1.        Electricity
  2.       Automobile Airplane
  3.       Water supply and distribution                                                                    
  4.        Electronics
  5.        Radio and television
  6.        Mechanized agriculture
  7.        Computers
  8.       Telephone
  9.        Air conditioning and refrigeration
  10.       Highways
  11.       Spacecraft
  12.       Internet
  13.        Imaging
  14.       Household appliances
  15.       Health technologies
  16.       Petroleum and petrochemical technologies
  17.       Laser and fiber optics
  18.       Nuclear technologies 
  19.      Material science

Additionally the systematic method of mass production is important in that it contributed to the development of all of the items on the list (Meieran, 2012).

Technology in the 21st century

Technology in the 21st century has seen marked development in electronics. Developed countries welcomed the development of Broadband Internet access. Other important developments in technology in the 21st century are biotechnology, bioengineering, alternative fuels, LEDs and solar cells.
Enhancing Student Learning with Technology
Technology can be used to enhance student learning. The success of technology integration rests completely on the ability of the teacher to select the best application to use to teach the concept. The ability of the teacher to use the application and teach students to use the technology plays a large role in the success of technology integration. At this point, there is a large disparity in the technological ability of teachers. There has been much discussion of the concept of digital natives vs. digital immigrants (Prensky, 2001).  Whether you subscribe to this school of thought, or not, it is obvious that not all teachers are equally equipped to integrate technology into instruction.  Also, not all schools are equally equipped with the equipment for the students they teach. This combined with the fact that technology is progressing at an ever increasing rate makes it very challenging for teachers to stay abreast of the latest trends while still managing to teach what ever standards are required.

Despite these challenges, I still believe that technology is the way of the future. Modern students love their technology and any use of it always increases the engagement of students in a very observable manner. My favorite technology tools for the classroom are e-responders, iPads (or tablets, but preferably iPads), interactive whiteboards, and YouTube. I know that there are so many other important inventions but for me, this is where I would start when equipping my dream classroom.

Technology already enhances my instruction. The Smartboard is the center of my classroom and my students know it. They know that all concepts will be delivered in a visually, and usually multi-media, manner. I have a Masters in Educational Media Design and Technology from Full Sail University and I put it to very good use.  I treasure my Educational Media Design education and put it to use in my classroom every day. 


Meieran, E.S. (2012) 21st Century Innovations. Retrieved from /cms/7126/8275.aspx

Prensky, M. (2001). Digital natives, digital immigrants. Retrieved from,%20digital%20immigrants%20-%20part1.pdf

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

About Educational Research: The Research Topic

There are basic principles that form the basis of research. A researcher begins by identifying a question or problem, and then establishing a plan of action to answer the question or resolve the problem. This involves a thorough collection and analysis of data.

Scientific principles

When designing a research project, it is important to find a research question that can be investigated empirically (Mertler & Charles, 2011). The question should be of a concept that is a gap in existing knowledge or should try to seek new knowledge (Mertler & Charles, 2011). Another goal is to find the cause of some phenomena or to formally test a hypothesis (Mertler & Charles, 2011). The research questions should be connected to previous research in the subject area.

Take the topic of homework, for example. Homework has been an important part of the educational system for many years. Homework is an academic process that is very important for students, parents and teachers (Bembenutty, 2011a). It is “one research-based instructional strategy linked to student achievement” (Van Voorhis, 2011, p. 221).  Homework includes tasks assigned to be completed during non-instructional time (Bembenutty, 2011b). Homework is an interesting topic because homework is a strategy almost every teacher uses. It is also a struggle that many teachers experience. This topic generates questions such as: Why do some students complete homework while other students don’t? Does homework really help increase student achievement? How much homework is too much, or too little? What types of homework is best?

Research Questions

Designing a strong research question requires the research to contemplate whether they know the field and its literature well, or not (Danya International, Inc., 2003). Also, focusing on important research questions in the field is important. It is important to seek a question on a part of the educational research that needs more attention or one that will fill a gap or need (Danya International, Inc., 2003). Research should be designed that will make a difference in the field of education (Danya International, Inc., 2003). If a researcher used the example topic of homework,  the following research questions could be formulated:

·      Is there a correlation between homework and student achievement?
·      How does parental support affect student work completion?
·      What factors contribute to student motivation to complete homework?
Rules of Operation

It is important that researchers gather reliable and valid information in order to draw conclusions. Consequently, there are rules of operation when conducting educational research (Mertler & Charles, 2011). There are legal principles that pertain to the use of human subjects in research (Mertler & Charles, 2011). These principles are based upon the National Research Act of 1974 and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (Mertler & Charles, 2011). There are also college and school district institutional rules that must be adhered to as well (Mertler & Charles, 2011). It does not seem that conducting a research project on homework should not violate any privacy acts or district or school rules.

It is important to pick a topic that is beneficial to your intended audience. For example, researching the topic of the effectiveness of homework will benefit teachers, students and parents alike.  It is an important topic that is general enough to be of use to a large audience. If the methodology is designed correctly, it could be replicated with the probability that the results may be the same. Students do homework routinely, and amassing data from the results of that homework should be convenient.

The ethical principles of educational research deal with the moral aspects of research. These principles include the principles of beneficence, honesty and accurate disclosure (Mertler & Charles, 2011). The value of the investigation must be considered also. The value of the investigation deals with the philosophical principles of importance, generalizability, replicability and probability (Mertler & Charles, 2011). The procedural principles of educational research include the principle of researchability, parsimony, credibility (Mertler & Charles, 2011).

Bembenutty, H. (2011a). The last word: An interview with Harris Cooper—Research, policies, tips and current perspectives on homework. Journal of Advanced Academics, 22, 342-351. Retrieved from
Bembenutty, H. (2011b). Meaningful and adaptive homework practices: The role of self-efficacy and self-regulation. Journal of Advanced Academics 22(3), 448-473. ISSN: 1932202X
Danya International, Inc. (2003). The relationship between the research question, hypothesis, specific aims, and long-term goals of the project. Retrieved from
Mertler, C. & Charles, C. (2011). Introduction to educational research (7th ed.).  San Francisco: Allyn and Bacon.  ISBN: 9780137013449
Van Voorhis, F.L. (2011). Costs and benefits of family involvement in homework. Journal of Advanced Academics 22(2), 220-249. ISSN: 1932202X

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Developing a Personal Educational Mission Statement

As a child I was confident, self-motivated and creative. I did not need a lot to amuse me. I was able to amuse myself from a young age. I was interested in the world around me and always determined to learn more. I loved to read and I read everything I could get my hands on. These three traits, confidence, self-motivation and creativity, are important for success. I think it is important to nurture these traits in young children so that they can develop the skills and habits needed for success.
 I always feel that I am doing what I was meant to do when I am parenting my children. Although life has never been easy for me, I know that I love being a parent and I would do anything for my children. Anytime I am spending time with my children, or doing things to help them in their school or activities, I feel fulfilled. I know that no matter what career I choose, being a mom is my number one job. 

One person to first notice my potential was a high school English teacher. This teacher took extra care to read my writings, she noticed that I had a passion for writing and made sure to tell me that she thought I had a talent for it. She would read my essays out loud to the class and that made me feel as if I could be a writer some day.  Sometimes all it takes is one person to single you out an make you feel special to inspire you to greater things. 

The one time that I experienced “flow” as described by (TED, 2004) was when I took a painting class. I always thought I would be a good painter if I just gave it a try. At one point I saved up and took some painting classes and I was surprised to find out that I was right and that I could paint well. I didn’t have to try really hard it just came to me. It was really enjoyable to try to do something and just be naturally good at it. 

I once asked my mom when she has seen me at my happiest and she said when I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree. My daughters say it’s when I make a great sale. My friends say I’m at my happiest when I’m with friends, hanging out and being myself. I agree with my mom. I worked really hard to get my Bachelor’s and when it was finally a reality I was just overcome with joy. I am sure I’ll feel the same way when I finish my Doctorate. I know that when I start teaching I am going to work hard to impact the world around me, one child at a time.  I especially want to help the disadvantaged youth in my community. There is so much that is needed to be done in our community but you have to start somewhere. I would like to be part of the change.

My Educational Mission Statement
I strive to teach the whole child and the whole family. I am dedicated to helping my students identify their primary purpose in life and to help in any way necessary to improve the life of my students and their families.  All my activities and curriculum materials are held to the highest standard and reflect my deeper core values of integrity, honesty and helpfulness.


TED. (2004). Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Flow, the secret to happiness. Retrieved from


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Duck Hunt anyone?

My first experience with computers was probably Atari. My parents bought one for us and we were enthralled by Pong. Pong for hours...Duck Hunt anyone?

Well, maybe an Atari is not really a computer. I took programming in High School (1987) and learned to write DOS. I think that's what that was called. I learned to make a ball bounce across the screen by writing in code. Eventually I manage to do a final project that actually was a multiple choice tutorial. Just to make it interesting I made it in French. That fulfilled a requirement to make a final project in French 4. Reallly irritated my programming teacher, I think, because he didn’t speak French, but my French teacher was impressed. I think I got an A. Also, in high school I took typing on an electric typewriter and learned computer programming in a separate class.

In college, I worked for the Concert Manager's Office at University of Southern Maine (1988) and learned to word process on a Mac. All of the computers in the computer lab were white Apples. Some fellow students discovered the internet (again, I believe in DOS? Very boring, no graphics at ALL.) Some students fell in love over the Internet, which I found very strange at the time.

I couldn't afford a computer so I bough a brother word processor/electric typewriter on which I did my college homework. It had a little screen and I could see one line of text at a time. My dad, a schoolteacher in Maine, was so impressed with the gadget that he bought one for himself, the bigger model that allowed you to see 4 lines of text at time. He did a lot of lesson plans on it.

A bunch of time went by when I was married and raising kids, but I got divorced, went back to school in about 1996 and someone in the lab showed me the Internet, very fancy with graphics...on a PC...and I was hooked.

Soon I learned how to "chat" with other students in the University. I dated a techie that I met in the computer lab. After that I was really hooked. I pretty much kept up with the latest trends in computer technology after that.

What I use now!
I've come a long way Baby!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Southwest Georgia Writing Project-October Meeting

Today I went to a meeting of my South Georgia Writing Project which is part of the National Writing Project. I went through the Writing Institute this summer at Georgia Southwestern University, and now I am officially a Teaching Fellow. The National Writing Project has been around for 40 or more years. It's goal is to have teachers teach other teachers how to teach writing! It's a great program, and I really learned a lot and met a bunch of great teachers and made some new friends!

The meeting was fun. We wrote. The writing prompt for the day was "thinking outside the box." Our fearless leader, Dr. Peg Ellington, read us the book C in the Box - a Paradigm Parable.

Encouraged to write about "outside the box" I wrote this:

This story made me think about my Action Research project that I am conducting at my school right now. It’s about blogging with Elementary School students. Last week I took my classes to the Writng Lab to introduce them to their Music Blogs, a place where we can write, across the curriculum, about music online. The students were very excited to start blogging. I had spent 3 days of the same week teaching them how to prewrite, mind map, rough draft—all in response to a video we had watched Beethoven Lives Upstairs—They were ready to write, about music, online, and now all we had to do was get into the writing lab to start blogging.

Yesterday afterschool I was told that a teacher in the hall was heard complaining:
“We’re supposed to be going to Music, why am I bringing my class to the Writing Lab?”

Then, we were encouraged to draw pictures of flowers. No other directions given. Then we listened to Harry Chapin's "Flowers are Red." Finally, Dr. Ellington read us The Art Lesson by my favorite children's author Tommie de Paola.

Inspired I made this little movie about the day.

Click here to see my little movie

Needless to say there was food there, and friends, and the house we met at was extremely comfortable and beautiful. It was a great meeting. I'm glad I went. I look forward to our National Conference in Orlando, Florida which will be held November 17, 18 & 19.