1. Techie Teachers’ Tricks- Website’s Vision and Mission

TECHIE TEACHERS’ TRICKS- WEBSITE VISION
AND MISSION

Blog Post Agenda:

Why blogging?
Vision and Mission

Catalyst Ideas of this Blog
          *Common Core Standards
          *21st century skills 
          *TPACK framework

The quote that sums up my teaching philosophy is the following Chinese proverb: “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve and I’ll understand”. This approach is at the core at my teaching.

Why have I decided to blog? I blog because I think that writing for the profession is very important, because our students are worth whatever it takes, because I like to reflect on my teaching, and because I believe in the great benefits of Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and Professional Learning Networks (PLNs). I think that blogging is about being creative, and ultimately, about sharing. I also think that maintaining an educational blog is one of the most effective ways to collaborate with teachers, to share great technology integration tips and examples, to continue writing for the profession like I mentioned above, and also reflect on 21st century teaching practices. I chose blogging as a way to network with other professionals because of the fact that when blogging, space and time do not impose any challenging limitations. In addition, I run across many ingenious ideas every week, and I oftentimes feel the urge to share my excitement of discovery with other teachers passionate about teaching and technology not only inside my school setting, but also outside of it.

While blogging you need a mission and a vision, because just like a leading technology specialist, Tim Smith,  claimed, they give you a direction. The mission of my blog will be to guide teachers in making meaningful use of technology, content, and pedagogy in the classroom when working with diverse populations of students and my vision for it, which will act as a catalyst for my endeavors, is my belief in an education system lead by teachers who can shape effective 21st century learners and thinkers and discernible consumers of digital content who can showcase their knowledge in innovative and creative ways.

This blog will be driven by my belief in the importance and effectiveness of the 21st century skills, the TPACK framework and technology integration, and the Common Core State Standards in education. The focus of this blog will be effective technology integration in the classroom while trying to reach diverse populations of students, who, obviously, possess diverse learning styles, preferences and abilities.

In my opinion, learning, in a meaningful sense, really happens when factual knowledge is accompanied by the ability to apply higher level thinking skills in order to make judgments, assess, and ultimately create. We live in an era when education needs to prepare students for a variety of challenges after graduation.  Teachers’ focus needs to be college and career readiness for their students, as indicated by the Common Core State Standards. The 21st century students are different from those of the previous century because they live in a world that doesn’t even resemble the typical reality of the one hundred years ago society. Therefore, schools are mandated to shape effective 21st century learners and thinkers according to the new realities. The 21st century skills, as described by the Partnership for the 21st Century Skills (P21), became key catalysts of all educational initiatives. Among all 21st century skills, the 4Cs pay a pivotal role.

Technology is becoming so pervasive that it is reshaping the way people learn, work, and even think. The Internet has fundamentally boosted people’s ability to access and share knowledge. Prensky (2001), who coined the phrase “digital natives” referring to all K-12 and college, noted the fact that “today’s students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach” (p. 2). He claimed that today’s average undergraduate students have spent fewer than 5,000 hours reading as opposed to over 10,000 hours playing video games, over 10,000 hours talking on digital cell phones, and over 20,000 hours watching TV. In addition, they have sent in average over 200,000 emails and instant messages.  Indeed, students in the 21st century are growing up in the center of a technological revolution and the way they think and learn is greatly influenced by these experiences.

A plethora of researchers emphasized the importance of using technology in school by saying that there is nothing certain about the future of technology, except that it will no doubt become more ubiquitous and powerful. My technology integration philosophy emerged from the premise that quality instruction in the 21st century is inextricably linked to the effective interdependence among technology, content, and pedagogy as described by Koehler and Mishra (2006) through their Technological Pedagogical and Content Knowledge (TPACK) framework.

The TPACK Framework and Its Knowledge Components. Source: http://tpack.org/

In my opinion, understanding TPACK is very important when teachers want to effectively integrate technology in their daily instruction, that’s why I am saving a little bit of space here for a more detailed explanation. TPACK refers to the overlapping area of content, pedagogy, and technology. As a result, the TPACK framework includes seven components. Various people might have content knowledge (CK), pedagogical knowledge (PK), or technology knowledge (TK). Other people might have mastered two of these different aspects, so they might have pedagogical content knowledge (PCK) —expertise regarding how to teach a specific content–, technology content knowledge (TCK) –knowledge regarding what technology tools to use for certain academic content–, or technological pedagogical knowledge (TPK)—awareness regarding what technological tools would fit specific instructional strategies and pedagogical approaches. Therefore, in order to promote effective technology integration, teachers need to prove a high mastery of technological pedagogical and content knowledge (TPACK), i.e., how to select and use specific technology software and equipment in order to teach specific content to the students. While technology must be used to improve the effectiveness of student learning, the chaotic use of technology is a lack of TPACK. Researchers concurred that teachers can become TPACK experts only by balancing and managing all seven components of the framework. Using all types of technologies in education effectively requires specific knowledge of how these technologies can be used for pedagogical purposes and multifaceted expertise.

Literature shows that many teachers are lured in a technocratic trap by initiating and conducting their efforts according to specific educational technologies, rather than curriculum based content standards or students’ learning needs. In order to avoid this trap, I will frequently refer to the Common Core State Standards as a basis for my blog because each and every attempt to technology integration in the classroom should be driven by learning goals.  In other words, establishing the learning goals to be met is the starting point of the technology integration journey.

Learning and teaching are essential and refreshing aspects of my intellectual life. I totally subscribe to Celce-Murcia’s philosophy– a leading specialist of the methodology for English language learners– who claimed that completing an academic program is only the beginning of a lifelong quest to better understand our students.

Koehler, M. & Mishra, P. (2006). Technological pedagogical content knowledge: A framework for teacher knowledge. Teachers College Record, 108(6), 1017-1054
Prensky, M., (2001a), Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants Part 1, On the Horizon, Vol. 9(5). 1 – 6. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/10748120110424816

This entry was posted in 21st century skills, Blogging, Educational Technology, Web 2.0 tools. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to 1. Techie Teachers’ Tricks- Website’s Vision and Mission

  1. Mihaela Ionel, North Carolina says:

    Ms. Tripsa,
    I used some of the websites mentioned in your post and I agree that they bring an innovative side to education. Through these activities students are more engaged in the learning process. In addition, they can acquire not only the core curriculum information, but also 21st century skills, such as conducting their own research, make a thoughtful selection of the found material, surf the internet and post qualitative work.
    I also appreciated your guidelines in creating a students blog, every step was clearly explained and supported with abundant examples.
    Thank you for your hard work. I’m looking forward to read more of your future posts.

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