Thursday, October 30, 2014

Educational Technology for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 7: Teachers Share About Their Favorite Social Media Tools: Facebook and Youtube

This week, two teachers discuss their favorite social media tools and how they are used for teaching and learning. This podcast features Amanda Tuscherer who provides a fantastic introduction to Facebook, and Jessica Irey, who gives some great real-world examples for using YouTube.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

5 Ways to Use GPS Devices for Authentic Learning

GPS devices allow a user to accurately pinpoint his or her position on a map using satellite technology. These devices were originally developed to help people navigate their way in the great outdoors or when driving in a car. However, some tech-savvy teachers have also taken advantage of handheld GPS devices for educational activities. Coordinates and information can be downloaded or entered into a GPS device from the teacher that can lead students to a specific location. When students arrive at the location, they can then read the information, giving them a sense of connection between knowledge and place that supports deeper learning (Woodhouse & Knapp, 2000). This post is an excerpt from my book: Educational Technology for Teachers.

Some example GPS device activities for students include having students enter waypoints into the GPS for different activities (walking, sports, etc.) and then measuring, averaging and graphing the distances between points. Teachers can also enter coordinates and information into the GPS devices and send students on a hunt for the coordinates.
Here are 5 more example GPS-based learning activity ideas:

  • Students can follow GPS coordinates to and learn about different tree or plant species 
  • Students can follow GPS coordinates to historical places and read stories about these places when they arrive 
  • Students can add waypoints that mark the location of animal or plant species for analysis 
  • Students can measure the size of real-world objects using GPS coordinates 
  • Students can complete a treasure hunt by following coordinates to a cache with subject matter questions or problems that must be completed in order for them to continue to the next cache

  • What are some GPS activities that you have tried as a teacher? 

    Thursday, October 23, 2014

    Educational Technology for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 6: Ellendale, ND: How did we get to the point where everyone has an iPad?

    This week, we continue on location to Ellendale ND for an interview with Justin Thorpe, technology coordinator. Some of the topics we discuss include how many websites and resources should really be blocked for students and teachers and how we get to the point where everyone has an iPad in Ellendale schools. This is a continuation of our previous episode interviewing a kindergarten and high school teacher. 

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    The Future of Teaching and Learning - Designing Learning Experiences

    In past posts, I discussed the future of teaching and learning and whether grading and information presentation (lecture) would be a part of it. Both of these activities will decline in the future, but there is one activity that is sure to be a part of the future of teaching and learning. In the future, teachers will likely spend much time designing learning experiences. Designing learning experiences is what teachers do when they begin to think about instructional strategies within the larger picture of the full days and weeks of the classroom. A teacher who designs learning experiences sees herself not only as a presenter of information, but as one who can make use of all possible learning resources and methods including one-on-one instruction from the teacher, information presentation from the teacher, information resources from the Internet, computer applications, and more. Most of this article is an excerpt from my book, Educational Technology for Teachers. 
    As a designer of learning experiences, the teacher takes advantage of all aspects of the Information Age. The teacher acts as a seeker and evaluator of resources, finding accurate information and resources in formats that are developmentally appropriate and that match student needs (Aslan & Reigeluth, 2013; Reigeluth, 2011). In cases where appropriate resources are not available, the teacher might also act as a creator of resources from which students can learn. The teacher works with individual students to choose appropriate learning resources for each student, or she may design a project for the student to complete using the resources. Then the student takes personal responsibility to learn from the resources and make any necessary adjustments in consultation with the teacher. In this approach, the teacher spends more time working individually with each student and less time presenting information to the whole class. This process is also student centered because the student plays an active role in the learning experience.
    This model, in which teachers become designers of learning experiences, allows for differentiation of instruction. In this approach, all students can reach mastery of the learning material, but not all students reach mastery at the same time (Reigeluth, 2011; Reigeluth & Garfinkle, 1994). Students learn a variety of skills critical for the Information Age when teachers design learning experiences, including information, media and technology skills; initiative and self-direction; and productivity and accountability. 
    Seeing yourself as a designer of learning experiences makes your job as a teacher more enjoyable, more important and more effective. This approach to teaching and learning represents the way that we should teach because of the characteristics of the Information Age society in which we live. As access to and the amount of information continues to grow, teachers will increasingly see themselves as designers of learning experiences (Aslan & Reigeluth, 2013; Duffy, 2009).


    Aslan, S., & Reigeluth, C. M. (2013). Educational technologists: Leading change for a new paradigm of education. TechTrends, 57(5), 18–24. doi:10.1007/s11528-013-0687-4
    Duffy, F. (2009). The need for systemic transformation change in school districts (part 1). Rice Connexions. Retrieved November 26, 2013, from
    Reigeluth, C. M. (2011). FutureMinds committee meeting. Presented at the Association for Educational Communications and Technology International Convention, Jacksonville, FL.
    Reigeluth, Charles M., & Garfinkle, R. J. (1994). Systemic Change in Education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Educational Technology Publications.

    Thursday, October 16, 2014

    Educational Technology for SD Teachers Podcast - Episode 5: Ellendale, ND: 1:1 iPads: How do a Kindergarten and High School Teacher use Technology

    This week, we go on location to Ellendale ND where iPads are plentiful (1:1) for all grades and all ages. Two teachers share their experiences using these iPads and other technologies in Kindergarten and High School Language Arts classes.

    Tuesday, October 7, 2014

    Is Grading a Part of the Future of Teaching?

    In this post, we'll consider whether the teacher of the future will do more or less grading. In a previous post, I discussed whether information presentation activities will be a part of the future of teaching. These posts are excerpts from my book, Educational Technology for Teachers. 
    Now, on to grading. Many of the tools and applications that computers provide help teachers to be more efficient in their grading processes. A teacher can use a spreadsheet application to allow for quick grading and automation of scoring processes. Many school districts have adopted student information systems that help teachers quickly report grades to school administrators and share grades with parents online. Student information systems such as Powerschool and Infinite Campus support easy sharing of grades and information to faculty and parents. 
    Going beyond technologies that simply allow teachers to be more efficient in their grading, there are also applications and programs that can automate the grading process itself. For example, some software applications such as SMART Response and Socrative can be set up to gather student responses to classroom activities. In some systems, student responses can be combined automatically in a grade book with no additional work required from the teacher. Learning management systems like Moodle and MyBigCampus support online courses with automatic grading features. As these grading applications become more and more ubiquitous, it is safe to assume that the teacher of the future will spend less time grading than teachers do today. I don't think that many teachers will miss doing more grading!