Takeaways from Educause E-Book

In reading the Chapters 7, 8, & 9 in our Educause E-BOOK, there are three takeaways that I feel are important. The first is students need to learn how to use advanced tools. The second is that teachers need training to use technology in the classroom. The third is that technology is a tool to use in the classroom.

We have been learned that the Net Generation is what “Prensky calls “digital natives”(Oblinger & Oblinger 2005 p. 7.1). Because they have grown up using technology.  In college, these students usually own a computer and have access to the internet. “One student commented that “I would feel very disconnected and lost if my laptop and cell phone were taken away from me.” (Oblinger & Oblinger 2005 p. 7.4) Yet, they entered college only having basic technology skills such as word processing. More advanced technology, for example creating a presentation or using a graphics program, would depend on a student’s’ major or college level.  At the University of Minnesota, Crookston students are required to produce power point presentations. As educators, we should understand that students can start learning to use these tools in their early education in project-based learning activities. My elementary students are completing animals reports, this would be a great opportunity to teach them to use slides to create a presentation. If we want our students to succeed in their future endeavors, we need to make sure that our curriculum is specifically designed for students to learn “information literacy and technical skills needed to use the tools” (Oblinger & Oblinger 2005 p. 7.5).

Technology use in education has lots of potentials.  In one study (2014), Risk-Based Learning Games were created “to test whether such learning games can improve later recall of information and the conclusion that it did improve the retention of information..(Devonshire, I.M., Davis, J., Fairweather, S., Highfield, L., Thaker, C., Walsh, A., Wilson, R., and Hathway, G) We see that “99% of K-12 school have internet connected to the classroom.” So why isn’t technology a part of the everyday routine in the classroom?  There is a gap between the”educational research community and the learning sciences that have been discovered about learning and what educators know or practice”.(8.4) Therefore, educators are finding it a challenge to integrate technology into the classroom and to do it effectively.  There needs to be professional development training for educators. How can this happen if the district doesn’t provide it? Many of the tools that we have explored online offer professional development in the form of videos.  Educators can also examine blogs or become a part of a community of practice.  For example, Edmodo has its own Facebook group that anyone can join. Through education of the educator, there will be a successful use of integrating into the classroom and creating a learning experience.

Technology is not a Pangea.  It will not replace lectures or other traditional forms of learning. It is another tool to be used. I think this is an important concept.  I completed a research project comparing e-books to print books in improving comprehension.  I was disappointed that e-books were not better than print books. E-books and print books improved reading comprehension about the same.  Although for some student, interactive e-books motivate them to read and they gain confidence in their reading skills. In other students, interactive e-books sounds and activities were a distraction. In game-based learning enables children to be interactive, motivated and engaged. However, students can get too involved, or competitive and this leads to less learning. Thus, educators need to understand that technology is a tool. They have to know what their learning objective and keep it in mind as they choose their technology tool. They should understand what the negatives and positives are in using the tools so that they can create a rewarding learning experience for students.

There were three takeaways that I felt were important from the Educause E-book.  One, we need to teach students to use advance technology tool. This can even start in their primary years. Two, teachers will be able to use technology in their classrooms more routinely if trained.  Three, teachers should see technology as just another tool to be used in the classroom.

Devonshire, I.M., Davis, J., Fairweather, S., Highfield, L., Thaker, C., Walsh, A., Wilson, R., and Hathway, G. (2014, July 29) Risk-Based Learning Games Improve Long-Term Retention of Information among School Pupils. PLOS. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0103640

Etienne & Wenger-Trayner, B. (2015). Communities of practice: A brief introduction. Wenger-Trayner. Retrieved from: http://wenger-trayner.com/introduction-to-communities-of-practice/

Oblinger, D. & Oblinger, J. (2005) Educating the Net Generation. Educause. Retrieved from www.educause.edu/educatingthenetgen/

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