Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Strengthening Technology in my Classroom

With my recent move to fifth grade, I have noticed a much greater need for the use of technology. This need is not just my own, but for the students as well. In order to fill this need there are few goals I have to achieve. The first one is tied to the NETS-T (International Society for Technology in Education, 2008) 1 B. “Engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.” The second is tied to 2 B. “Develop technology-enriched learning environments that enable all students to pursue their individual curiosities and become active participants in setting their own educational goals, managing their own learning, and assessing their own progress.” Using the GAME method I have developed a plan to enhance technology in the classroom.

In order to properly integrate more real world issues in my classroom, I need to be better informed of them. My goal is to use three to five real life news communications (article, video, or audio clip) a week in my lessons. Right now, on average, I use zero. 

The first thing I need to teach my students, on the path of self-inquiry, is how to use some basic technology. At our school, there is no official computer teacher; therefore many students do not even learn the basics. This year we will be starting with typing. My first goal is to teach my students proper and basic typing. 

For the incorporation for current events, I need to subscribe and read more periodicals and journals. Daily, I should be spending about thirty minutes a day searching for information on real- world issues. Then, I need to take what I find and use it in my lessons. Audio/ video clips and articles can be used as methods of engagement in my classroom. 

Educating my students on the basic computer skills will start with me asking the person who runs out tech lab to post typing websites in our grade level folder. Then, each week we go in to the computer lab, have my students work on three lessons. Each week their typing ability will increase as they work through the lessons. 

I will monitor my use of current events media by keeping a tally of how many times a week I utilize different medias in my lessons. When I get started, I hope to gain one hook a week until I am at three to five. If I am not reaching my goal, I will record the time I am spending each day looking for relevant current events to see if I need to increase that as well.

I will monitor my instruction based upon how well my students are typing. I will use informal observation as well as the assessments from the typing program. If students are not performing at the expected level, other typing websites may be used as scaffolding. 

Once I have reached the number of real world connections each week, I will work on building in authentic problem solving. Using those real world issues, I will connect them back to our content. Using the information in the content, I will have students problem solve the issue I am using that day. Problem solving may include discussions, writings, mathematical expressions or data collecting. 

Once my students have worked to achieve the desired level of typing, I would move them to another program to utilize their new skills. The program I would choose is PowerPoint. It tends to be more engaging than Word, and it requires some typing, but not an excessive amount. It is not the focus of the program, like Word. This will give some comfort to those who are still working to strengthen their typing skills, which helps build confidence. This is important when implementing technology in the classroom (Laureate Education Inc., 2009) It will, also, teach a new set of technology skills.

International Society for Technology in Education. (2008). National education standards for teachers   (NETS-T). Retrieved on September 12, 2012 from
Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (2009). Integrating technology across the content areas. Baltimore, MD: Author


  1. Jill- I love your idea of working with current events. It is so important for students to know what is going on around them. Sometimes I feel that all they hear is the negative stories about war or murders.

    You might want to check with your local newspaper about getting free copies for your class. I know our local paper has a program where I can get free newspapers every day or even just once a week. It would be a great learning experience for them to learn how to read the paper and to find their own current events in addition to yours.

    Also, a Voice Thread may work well at the beginning of the year for your students that are not quite fluent typers!

    1. Thank you for the ideas! I will definitely check with my local newspaper. Thank you for reminding me about VoiceThread. I moved to fifth grade and forgot about it. Silly me! Thanks for your comment!


  2. Jill, I too have an issue with the need to use technolgy with my students that do not have experience with it. I recently found a wonderful site that helps our students learn the basic keyboarding skills, but I unfortunately saved it at work. I will definitely make sure that I send you the link because it is a wonderful way to teach students the basics of typing. I have already used it with my fourth grade students this year and they were very receptive.

    1. Kelly,
      I would really appreciate that link! The ones we have at our site are a bit childish, and even though I have working with very novice typists, I don't want them to feel like I think they are dumb. Thanks!

    2. I remembered the link in the middle of the night of course. It is I really like the site because it allows students to go at their own pace. The top of the page gives directions and visuals for where to place your fingers. It's lovely and my students did quite well using it for the first time last week. Let me know what you think of it.