Thursday, November 12, 2009

My Technology GAME Plan

Walden EDUC6713 Integrating Technology Across the Content Area (Week 2 Application)

As I reviewed the ISTE National Educational Technology Standards and Performance Indicators for Teachers, I could see where I need improvement in every indicator. For this GAME plan (Cennamo, Ross & Ertmer, 2009), I chose the following standards and indicators:

1. Facilitate and Inspire Student Learning and Creativity

Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments. Teachers:

b. engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources.

2. Design and Develop Digital-Age Learning Experiences and Assessments

Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS•S. Teachers:

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.

My plan is as follows:

G – Set Goals

1. In almost every Math class, someone will ask “when will I ever need this again?” It is not always easy to come up with a concrete, real-world application for every skill or concept. My goal is to do a better job of seeking out these applications and creating authentic learning experiences using the available technology.

2. By integrating more digital tools and resources into my lessons, I hope to provide a learning environment in which each student can explore the concept through their various interests and choose to complete an assessment based on their preferred learning style.

A – Actions to Achieve These Goals

1. For each unit, I will review resources from various sources to find relevant real-world applications and authentic assessments. These resources include, but are not limited to, fellow teachers, curriculum materials, internet research, professional organizations such as NCTM and PBS, current events, and the students themselves.

2. I will begin to reconstruct unit plans to place more emphasis on student-centered learning. By shifting to activities that focus on exploration and discovery rather than instruction and practice, the students will be more responsible for their own learning. A concept that I have been toying with is the idea of a semester-long project. Rather than teaching each lesson from the textbook, I believe it is possible to cover every Math standard within a single project if it is planned well. Possible projects might be starting and developing a small business or simply earning, budgeting, saving, and investing money. If the students are engaged in the project, they will learn the content without getting bogged down in doing pages of practice problems every week. That may be a difficult goal to accomplish, but I definitely think it is worth spending more time to research.

M – Monitoring Progress

1. It will be fairly easy to monitor my progress in reaching the first goal. With middle school students, it doesn’t take very long to know if a real-life application is actually “real” to them. It is the same with creating authentic assessments. If a student feels like an assessment is a waste of their time, then it is not authentic to them. While monitoring will be fairly easy, achieving the goal will be more difficult.

2. While I believe I have done a fairly good job of integrating technology, we have not yet reached an environment in which all students can pursue their individual interests in each unit. To monitor my progress in having the students set their own educational goals and manage their own learning, I believe the best indicator will be workload. When the students are doing more work in the classroom than I am, there will be progress!

E – Evaluating and Extending My Learning

1. While I am engaging the students and creating authentic assessments, I must be sure that they are learning the content and standards that are required by the state. To do this, I will ask my co-teachers to review my lesson plans and observe when possible. It always helps to have the opinions of others when doing a thorough evaluation. Having a completely-engaged class is not enough if they are not acquiring the knowledge they need to be successful in the next grade and in life.

2. To evaluate whether I have created a learning environment in which all students can pursue their individual interests, I need feedback from the students. I will let them know that I am interested in their opinions and open to any questions or suggestions they may have. To be sure they are setting appropriate goals and managing their own learning, I will hold individual conferences with them to review and evaluate their own progress. At the beginning, these conferences will need to be frequent. As they adapt to this method of learning, conferences may be held less often, along with weekly reviews of their documented work.

I am looking forward to reading your comments and suggestions on my proposed GAME plan.


  1. I think having co-teachers watch technology based lesson plans is a great idea. I've taken my 8th grade science classes to the library computer lab a few times this quarter. The librarian takes great interest in the lessons the kids are working on and is a great help with technology issues kids are having. (some librarians just hide behind the desk and bury their head in the computer) In the lab, I now consider the librarian as a technology co-teacher. We even go over the lesson at the end to discuss ways to improve it for next time.

    By the way, that sunrise I why I live in Colorado - every single morning....We live about 2 hours south of DIA, but the effect is the same.

  2. I love your idea of Project based learning. My first teaching job was in a school where everyone used this method. All math, science, reading, art, music, spanish, etc. classes focused on one general topic for the nine weeks. One particular topic that would be more math related was where students developed a product.

    Each student developed a new invention or product, researched and adjusted development and went on to factor materials, production, packaging and distribution costs. Their end product was then produced in bulk and sold to parents who exchanged dollars for the school currancy at the student factored exchange rate. I still wear the earrings I bought 12 years ago during their sale.

    This type of lesson not only taught students about the development of new products, but more imporatntly, gave them real-world applications for math and the economy. Daily drill and practice sheets do nothing in comparrison to what they learn with a project like this.

    I think if you can develop project based lessons whether week long or semester long, your students begin to see the value of the math skills you are trying to teach.

  3. Kerry - I love the idea of nine-week projects. That sounds like a much more reasonable time frame. I will have to do some research to see if I can find some project plans such as the one you described. I definitely agree that the students would see more value in that than the traditional instruction, homework, and test method. Thank you for sharing!

  4. Susan,

    I consider your contribution more than challenging. Hopefully you will manage to make all your plans reality, at least in the long last.

    I also appreciate the plan to consult individual needs that your stdents are of. This is something that every teacher should be likely to do but unfortunatelly the very opposite is usually the case.

  5. Hi Susanna,

    As a person with math phobia, I think your students will appreciate your approach. Using math for authentic problems (not just those gosh-awful driving down the road word problems) may make math accessible and understandable to even more of your students! I hope it's successful!

  6. Donna - My students HATE word problems!! They will say "I don't get this" before they even read the problem. When I do give them word problems, I usually write my own. By writing about things that are relevant to my students' lives (a recent football game, their favorite movies, or even their cellphone habits) and using their names in them, they will at least read them without complaining!

  7. Somehow, I left the following reference off of my original post!

    Cennamo, K., Ross, J., & Ertmer, P. (2009). Technology Integration for Meaningful Classroom Use - A Standards-Based Approach. Mason, Ohio: Cengage Learning.

  8. I know...the thought of a "word problem" makes my stomach hurt!