Enhancing the Art & Science of Teaching With Technology

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Successfully leverage technology to enhance classroom practices with this practical resource. The authors demonstrate the importance of educational technology, which is quickly becoming an essential component in effective teaching. Included are over 100 organized classroom strategies, vignettes that show each section's strategies in action, and a glossary of classroom-relevant technology terms. Key research is summarized and translated into classroom recommendations.

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Chapter 1 Research and Theory

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In 1913, American inventor Thomas Edison boldly predicted what has since become a familiar claim: education in the United States, he said, would never be the same again. In an interview with The New York Dramatic Mirror, Edison proclaimed, “Books . . . will soon be obsolete in the schools. . . . Our school system will be completely changed inside of ten years” (as cited in Smith, 1913, p. 24). This statement may sound similar to modern predictions, but Edison was not foretelling the influence of ebooks, laptop classrooms, or even the Internet. Instead, he believed, textbooks would be replaced by motion pictures.

While Edison’s prediction has not, as of yet, come true, the availability of educational technology continues to increase. The rise in classroom computer use serves as a particularly clear example. According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the average number of instructional computers in public schools more than doubled in the thirteen-year period between 1995 and 2008, rising from 72 to 189 computers per school (Snyder & Dillow, 2012). In 2009, 97 percent of teachers had at least one computer in the classroom every day, and 69 percent of teachers reported using these computers either often or sometimes (Gray, Thomas, & Lewis, 2010). The Internet provides another example of the increasing use of technology. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in 2010, 97 percent of schools across the United States were able to connect to the Internet. As these statistics show, new technologies are increasingly pervasive in U.S. schools.

 

Chapter 2 Communicating Learning Goals, Tracking Student Progress, and Celebrating Success

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The first design question under lesson segments involving routine events is, How can I establish and communicate learning goals, track student progress, and celebrate success? As might be inferred from the design question itself, three elements are important to this question.

Element 1: Providing clear learning goals and scales (rubrics)

Element 2: Tracking student progress

Element 3: Celebrating success

Each of these elements is supported by specific research on the effects of setting goals (Lipsey & Wilson, 1993; Walberg, 1999; Wise & Okey, 1983), giving feedback to students (Bangert-Drowns, Kulik, Kulik, & Morgan, 1991; Haas, 2005; Hattie & Timperley, 2007; Kumar, 1991), reinforcing effort rather than innate talent (Hattie, Biggs, & Purdie, 1996; Kumar, 1991; Schunk & Cox, 1986), and the use of praise and rewards (Bloom, 1976; Deci, Ryan, & Koestner, 2001; Wilkinson, 1981). Additionally, specific strategies support each element and each of those strategies can be adapted and improved using technology.

 

Chapter 3 Establishing Classroom Rules and Procedures

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The second design question—How can I use technology to establish and maintain classroom rules and procedures?—addresses a crucial step toward a safe, orderly, and predictable learning environment for students. Two elements make up this design question, which falls under lesson segments involving routine events.

Element 4: Establishing and maintaining classroom rules and procedures

Element 5: Organizing the physical layout of the classroom

The idea that routines and procedures ought to be explicitly taught at the beginning of the school year, after which they are practiced and periodically reviewed, is well grounded in research (Anderson, Evertson, & Emmer, 1980; Brophy & Evertson, 1976; Eisenhart, 1977; Emmer, Evertson, & Anderson, 1980; Good & Brophy, 2003; Moskowitz & Hayman, 1976). The technology tools in this chapter facilitate teaching and review of rules and procedures, and they increase students’ participation in generating rules and procedures and designing the physical layout of the classroom. This involvement gives students a sense of agency and belonging in the classroom.

 

Chapter 4 Interacting with New Knowledge

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The third design question—How can I use technology to help students effectively interact with new knowledge?—falls under lesson segments addressing content. This chapter emphasizes the identification of critical information needed to master the learning goal. Once that information has been identified, the teacher organizes students into cooperative groups and uses previewing, chunking, processing, elaborating, recording, and reflecting strategies to help them interact with the information. Eight elements are associated with this design question.

Element 6: Identifying critical information

Element 7: Organizing students to interact with new knowledge

Element 8: Previewing new content

Element 9: Chunking content into digestible bites

Element 10: Helping students process new information

Element 11: Helping students elaborate on new information

Element 12: Helping students record and represent knowledge

Element 13: Helping students reflect on their learning

 

Chapter 5 Practicing and Deepening Knowledge

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In order for students to use new knowledge on their own, they must practice and deepen their understanding of the content after it has been introduced. This design question—How can I use technology to help students practice and deepen their understanding of new knowledge?—falls under lesson segments addressing content and includes seven elements.

Element 14: Reviewing content

Element 15: Organizing students to practice and deepen knowledge

Element 16: Using homework

Element 17: Helping students examine similarities and differences

Element 18: Helping students examine errors in reasoning

Element 19: Helping students practice skills, strategies, and processes

Element 20: Helping students revise knowledge

When considering this design question, it is important to remember that there are two types of knowledge—procedural and declarative. As discussed previously, procedural knowledge includes skills, strategies, and processes that students must be able to perform. The skills, strategies, and processes associated with procedural knowledge must be practiced in order for students to perform them with speed and accuracy. Declarative knowledge, on the other hand, includes the content-related details, facts, and principles that students must understand. Rather than be practiced, declarative knowledge is deepened or expanded as students gain a better understanding of the content. The elements and corresponding technology strategies outlined in this chapter have been developed from research on practice (Kumar, 1991; Ross, 1998), revising and analyzing errors (Halpern, 1984; Hillocks, 1986; Rovee-Collier, 1995), examining similarities and differences (Halpern, Hansen, & Reifer, 1990; McDaniel & Donnelly, 1996), and homework (Cooper, Robinson, & Patall, 2006). The specific strategies and behaviors associated with each element, as well as the ways in which the elements can be enhanced with technology, are provided here.

 

Chapter 6 Generating and Testing Hypotheses

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Chapters 4 and 5 outlined steps, strategies, and educational technology tools that teachers can use to build a solid foundation of declarative and procedural knowledge for their students. The design question addressed in this chapter, which falls under lesson segments addressing content, is, How can I use technology to help students generate and test hypotheses about new knowledge? This chapter focuses on challenging students to experiment with their newly acquired knowledge. Three elements are important to this design question.

Element 21: Organizing students for cognitively complex tasks

Element 22: Engaging students in cognitively complex tasks involving hypothesis generation and testing

Element 23: Providing resources and guidance

The strategies and behaviors outlined in this chapter are influenced by the research on problem-based learning (Gijbels, Dochy, Van den Bossche, & Segers, 2005) and hypothesis generation and testing (Hattie et al., 1996; Ross, 1988). Technology can be used to enhance and support each strategy.

 

Chapter 7 Engaging Students

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This design question, which falls under lesson segments enacted on the spot, is, How can I use technology to engage students? Chapter 7 highlights the significance of student engagement in promoting a lively, enthusiastic, and social classroom environment. Nine elements are important to this design question.

Element 24: Noticing when students are not engaged

Element 25: Using academic games

Element 26: Managing response rates

Element 27: Using physical movement

Element 28: Maintaining a lively pace

Element 29: Demonstrating intensity and enthusiasm

Element 30: Using friendly controversy

Element 31: Providing opportunities for students to talk about themselves

Element 32: Presenting unusual or intriguing information

The strategies and behaviors presented in this chapter draw on research on student attention (Connell, Spencer, & Aber, 1994; Connell & Wellborn, 1991; Reeve, 2006). Some argue that engaging students has gradually become more challenging with the rise of fast-paced Internet connections and other media outlets. According to a 2012 Pew Research survey, 87 percent of Advanced Placement (AP) and National Writing Project (NWP) teachers believed that digital technologies are producing “an easily distracted generation with short attention spans,” and 64 percent believed that digital technologies “do more to distract students than to help them academically” (Purcell et al., 2012, p. 2). When carried out properly, however, best practices for instructional engagement are still effective in the classroom. Furthermore, teachers can harness the engaging potential of technology for instructional purposes. Each of the aforementioned elements can be supported by specific strategies from The Art and Science of Teaching (Marzano, 2007), and each strategy can be supported by specific technology tools.

 

Chapter 8 Recognizing Levels of Adherence to Rules and Procedures

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The design question presented in chapter 8 is, How can I use technology to recognize and acknowledge adherence or lack of adherence to rules and procedures? Throughout a lesson, teachers should exhibit strategies and actions that acknowledge students’ behaviors. Three elements are important to this design question, which falls under lesson segments enacted on the spot.

Element 33: Demonstrating withitness

Element 34: Applying consequences for lack of adherence to rules and procedures

Element 35: Acknowledging adherence to rules and procedures

Each of these elements is supported by the general research on classroom management (Wang, Haertel, & Walberg, 1993) and discipline (Marzano, 2003). This chapter addresses specific strategies that support each element, as well as the technology tools that can be used to improve them.

If a teacher is demonstrating withitness, it means he or she is aware of variations in student behavior that might indicate potential disruptions and is attending to them immediately. Strategies associated with element 33 include:

 

Chapter 9 Maintaining Effective Relationships with Students

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Mutually respectful relationships between students and teachers are the foundation of an effective classroom. The design question for chapter 9 asks, How can I use technology to establish and maintain effective relationships with students? There are three elements associated with this design question, which falls under lesson segments enacted on the spot.

Element 36: Understanding students’ interests and backgrounds

Element 37: Using verbal and nonverbal behaviors that indicate affection for students

Element 38: Displaying objectivity and control

The strategies and behaviors connected to building relationships are drawn from the research on striking a balance between student perceptions that the teacher is in control of the classroom and student perceptions that the teacher is their advocate (Brekelmans, Wubbels, & Creton, 1990; Wubbels, Brekelmans, den Brok, & van Tartwijk, 2006). Specific strategies support each of the three elements and specific technology tools, in turn, can be used to support each of these strategies.

 

Chapter 10 Communicating High Expectations

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The design question for this chapter asks, How can I use technology to communicate high expectations for all students? The chapter emphasizes the need for teachers to clearly establish and consciously maintain high expectations for every single student, no matter what. Three elements are important to this final design question, which falls under lesson segments enacted on the spot.

Element 39: Demonstrating value and respect for low-expectancy students

Element 40: Asking questions of low-expectancy students

Element 41: Probing incorrect answers with low-expectancy students

Recognizing the importance of getting to know their students as soon as possible, teachers tend to evaluate and develop expectations for individual students very quickly. Sometimes, these expectations can cause teachers to treat high-expectancy students differently from low-expectancy students, often without realizing it. Students can be extremely perceptive and often notice subtle behavioral clues from teachers that indicate whether they are expected to do poorly or well academically. Furthermore, student behavior, self-image, and effort can actually change in response to teacher expectations (Brophy & Good, 1970; Ferguson, 1998; Jussim, Eccles, & Madon, 1996; Rist, 1970; Roscigno, 1998; Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968). In this chapter, we outline specific strategies teachers can use to set everyone up for success by communicating high expectations for all students. Each one of these strategies can be modified with technology.

 

Appendix A: Answers to Comprehension Questions

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1.  Why is it beneficial to use technology to expose students to a learning goal before beginning a lesson?

Class websites allow teachers to share a learning goal with students before a lesson begins. One benefit of presenting a clearly articulated learning goal in a blog entry or comment is that it gives students an opportunity to start making connections between learning goals, background knowledge, and personal experiences. Another reason to share a learning goal in advance of the lesson is that it prepares students to link their classroom activities, assignments, and discussions directly back to the content.

2.  Describe at least two benefits that come with using digital journals (as opposed to paper-and-pencil journals) to track student progress.

Unlike paper notebooks, cloud-based digital journals (in Google Drive or Evernote) cannot be misplaced or accidentally left at home, because they are accessible from a variety of electronic devices. For instance, if a student uses Google Drive to begin writing a journal entry at school, she does not have to remember to bring a notebook home in order to finish that entry for homework. Instead, she can access the same entry online from a home computer, a smartphone, a tablet, or a computer at the public library. Additionally, digital journals afford teachers the opportunity to type comments and feedback directly into their students’ files. Finally, students can easily revise entries in a digital journal, as well as save multiple drafts to review their progress over time.

 

Appendix B: Glossary of Technology Terms

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animations. Moving pictures that simulate movement by cycling through a series of still images.

annotations. Markups, notes, or comments that can be embedded in word processing documents. Annotations can be used in Google Drive.

app (short for application). Type of inexpensive software that can only be downloaded from the Internet. Apps are typically used on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets.

Audacity. Software for digitally recording and editing sound. Go to http://audacity.sourceforge.net for a free download.

avatar. An image or animation that users can customize to represent themselves on the Internet (such as in gaming, social media, or email services).

Blendspace. A website that allows teachers to create virtual lessons by compiling related digital media resources into a single landing page. For example, a Blendspace lesson on plate tectonics might include video footage of earthquakes, animated simulations of Pangaea’s movement, diagrams of the San Andreas Fault, links to a geologist’s blog post about plate tectonics, and other relevant media. Teachers can also use Blendspace to administer quizzes and track student progress. Go to www.blendspace.com to set up a free account.

 



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