This week in my current class, Teacher Tech Integration and Professional Development, we were asked to make a visual representation of some knowledge or entry-level skills teachers need for technology integration. I decided to use Google Docs and Google Drawings then made a screencast explanation (embedded below).
In the video, I make a reference to Ertmer. Here is the main article I am referencing; it is a seminal work in technology integration in education:
Ertmer, P. A. (1999). Addressing first-and second-order barriers to change: Strategies for technology integration. Educational Technology Research and Development, 47(4), 47-61.
Education is a complex social system with many stakeholders. Therefore, for effective technology integration, we should consider all these stakeholders, including students (Su, 2009). In fact, Martinez (2009) points out that the only resource in abundance in schools is students.
In Indiana, we have the Hoosier Student Digital Leaders (HSDL), part of the Office of eLearning and the Indiana Department of Education, that provides resources to schools and districts that are “supporting digital citizenship in their school in the form of student technology teams.”
In the HSDL Google+ Community, there are 101 schools listed across Indiana that have self-identified as having some sort of student technology team. The community serves as a good way for group leaders to collaborate and share with other group leaders. The HSDL also hosts a student-led conference each year for students to gain presenting skills as well as share new ideas to the community.
GenYES is another organization that finds student technology teams an effective model of professional development for technology integration. With the goal of developing students as leaders in technology knowledge and integration, GenYES has a modeled a successful program by training students to be mentors for teachers (Martinez, 2009). Their website states it very succinctly: “We believe that teams of well-prepared K-12 students are the key strategy for realizing meaningful technology integration.” (Generation YES, 2016).
Examples of GenYES projects include having the GenYES student come into the classroom and help younger students create and edit movies or having a student create a website template for a teacher to use with students (Martinez, 2009).
But, does this help?
GenYes found, of the GenYES participants, 99% agreed that it was a good method to support teachers and 3 in 5 teachers stated that GenYES made integrating technology “more comfortable”. (Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2010). In another study, Zhao, et al. (2006) found that the GenYES program produced several factors that enhance technology integration. They are: time to experiment, a focus on student learning, the building of social connections and learning communities, and localizing or personalizing professional development. Hew and Brush (2007) also found these elements as helpful for overcoming technology integration barriers.
Schools are also using these technology teams as cost-effective technology repair services (Martinez, 2009). The perceived lack of technical support by teachers is a major barrier to technology integration (Gilakjani, 2013). These technology teams can alleviate the frustration caused by lack of technical support.
I believe that well-managed student technology teams are a win-win for both staff and students. Staff gain inexpensive technical support and training while students grow in their leadership skills (Wan et al., 2010). Therefore, maybe a better question is, “What elements of a Student Technology Team successfully build self-efficacy in teachers?” The results of that could help mentor/leaders more effectively build their student technology team. What do you think those elements would be?
Gilakjani, A. (2013). Factors contributing to teachers’ use of computer technology in the classroom. Universal Journal of Educational Research, 1(3), 262-267.
Hew, K. F., & Brush, T. (2007). Integrating technology into K-12 teaching and learning: Current knowledge gaps and recommendations for future research.Educational Technology Research and Development, 55(3), 223-252.
Su, B. (2009). Effective technology integration: Old topic, new thoughts. International Journal of Education and Development using Information and Communication Technology, 5(2), 161-171.
Wan, T. Y., Ward, S. E., & Harper, D. (2010). The Power of Student Learning Through Leading. Principal Leadership, 10(6), 68-71.
Zhao, Y., Frank, K. A., & Ellefson, N. C. (2006). Fostering meaningful teaching and learning with technology: Characteristics of effective professional development. Meaningful learning using technology: What educators need to know and do, 161-179.
Last summer, I read a book called “Every Guest is a Hero” by Adam Berger. The book is about how Disney theme parks build their attractions, park layouts, and many other details around making the guest the hero of the story. As you wait in line for Expedition Everest, for example, you learn the history of the fearsome Yeti in the Himalayas around the Disney created fictional town of Serka Zong and the adventure that awaits as you make your way to board the train. I won’t spoil the ride if you haven’t ridden it, but you do survive and return to regale the locals of stories about your encounter with Yeti!
As I read this book, I began to wonder about ways that teachers could make their students the hero of their stories. Imagine how engaging a lesson could be if every student could work their way through it being the hero. Later this school year, I came across a blog post by Ramsey Musallam that details how he uses the Hero’s Journey to create lessons and an idea was sparked. This summer, one of my projects is to create some lessons the use and refine this concept.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of the Hero’s Journey, it is a literary construct that says that most mythology and storytelling can be developed in stages. Those stages make up the hero’s journey. The most popular framework for the hero’s journey was developed by Joseph Campbell.
The Campbellian model has 4 stages and different parts in each stage. The stages are Separation, Descent, Ordeal, and Return.
Here is how I am envisioning the model as a lesson unit.
This is the stage that begins with a Call to Adventure. For those who use inquiry, this could be your intro activity that leads to your driving question. Once the students are engaged in the “adventure” and begin asking the right questions, they move on to begin struggling with the question.
This stage is followed by the Meeting with the Mentor stage. The students are encouraged to ask the teacher or find an expert on the topic to serve as a mentor and guide them on their journey. This could also be a video resource.
As the students progress, the move along the Road of Trials as they make their way to the Supreme Ordeal. This is when they experiment with a skill or concept, try different solutions, collaborate with others to advance in their journey and ultimately come to the ordeal.
The Supreme Ordeal is the final conclusion that is their culminating project. This is the major assessment. The demonstration of learning by solving whatever problem the content required. At the end of the ordeal, they get the Reward of completing the daunting task successfully and being the hero.
This is a favorite stage of mine and often forgotten in lesson planning. The hero always Returns to the Ordinary World and bring backs tales of adventure. This stage is also sometimes referred to as Return with the Elixir. This would be when the students make a public display of their ordeal and success. They should be proud of their work and return to class with a hero’s welcome!
As the summer progresses, I’m planning to develop specific lessons following this model. I’d love to hear your ideas and feedback. What lessons could you make your students the hero?