ISTE 4’s emphasis is on critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. Specifically the standard’s goal is for students to use critical thinking skills to plan and conduct research, manage projects, solve problems and make informed decisions using appropriate digital tools and resources (ISTE). There were many elements of this standard that I found important because of its focus on developing skills such as asking significant questions, making informed decisions, analyzing data, and managing activities. My question stemmed from the management component of the standard as I wondered what kind of digital tools and resources are available to assist students in managing projects. My initial resource led me to a list of applications that students can use to manage project tasks, collaborate with team members, communicate with those members, and/or send reminders. In any classroom, learning to manage time and larger tasks is an important skill to learn and it is helpful to know that there are online tools to help students learn to manage themselves better, especially since it is such a challenge to get them to use planners.
The applications suggested in my resource are Teamwork, Glasscubes, Redbooth, Basecamps, and 5pm (Reviews, 2015). Each varies in capability and cost, but are each designed based on the needs of students. Even though schools often times do provide an online calendar and teachers post assignments (long and short term) to that calendar, it doesn’t work for every student; just as the traditional planner doesn’t help every student. Knowing about these other options allows me to make suggestions to help students who may be struggling with time management or alternatively, when I do assign a large assignment I could require one of applications as part of the project to teach students to use technology and more importantly develop their project management skills.
A major takeaway from this module was the importance of the use of a variety of teaching methods in the classroom. Bates provided an overview of the various teaching strategies available to teachers and considered each strategy in light of technology. It seems that there is a way to effectively use technology on some scale whether the teachers style is lecture or experiential and technology does offer new possibilities for teaching. One example is gaming and coding (Kiang, 2014). In a learning by doing scenario, students can bring books to live by creating a virtual environment based on the descriptions of the book and as such students can explore the same places the characters do and quite possibly, students could meet those characters using Inform7 (Kiang, 2014). This isn’t limited to humanities, as students can create games that require them to advance to the next level by providing facts based questions to ask of the player; these questions can be math, science or humanities related (Yang & Chang, 2013).
In light of the standards, technologies and teaching methods, it is important for the teacher to first identify the skills they wish to develop for their students and design meaningful lessons from there (Bates). This paired with student participation, teacher feedback, and proper assessment, students will be able to grow in their skill and develop the competencies necessary to be successful in their future (Bates, 2014). ISTE 4 allowed me to consider ways that I could help students develop their management skills with technology and how they might be able to problem solve using online gaming as a way to challenge their creativity and their knowledge. For reference, figure 1 contains notes taken from this modules readings as well as my resource findings in the coggle format.
Bates, A. W. (n.d.). Methods of teaching. In Teaching in a digital age (4). Retrieved from http://opentextbc.ca/teachinginadigitalage/part/chapter-4-methods-of-teaching/
Kiang, D. (2014). 3 ways coding and gaming can enhance learning. Edutopia. Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/coding-and-gaming-enhance-learning-douglas-kiang
Yang, Y. C., & Chang, C. (2013). Empowering students through digital game authorship: Enhancing concentration, critical thinking, and academic achievement. Computers & Education, 68(c), 334–344.
Reviews.com (2015). The 5 Best Project Management Software for Students. Retrieved from http://www.reviews.com/project-management-software/students/