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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Week 2

The first educational technology organization that I chose is the International Technology Education Association (ITEA) which can be accessed at http://www.iteaconnect.org/ .

This organization is a professional organization for specialized educators in the fields of technology, innovation, design, and engineering. Their mission is to improve the quality of life by supporting the teaching of technology. To accomplish this, ITEA sets certain goals which include offering professional development in elementary technology education, providing resources for elementary technology teachers, and offering standard based curriculum to help incorporate technology into the classroom. I chose this organization because it fits with my philosophy of using the technology to teach with real world scenarios and with the actual technology that the students will see in the real world. I also liked the fact that this organization is willing to offer the resources and standards based lessons to help overcome some of the resistance barriers such as lack of time and resources.

The second educational technology organization that I chose is the Texas Computer Education Association which can be accessed at http://www.tcea.org/about/Pages/default.aspx.

I chose this organization because not only does it match my philosophy of integrating technology into the classroom and teaching the technology simultaneously with the curriculum, but it is more specialized to our needs in Texas education. The TCEA is affiliated with the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), but it keeps in close contact with the various educational regions in Texas so that it can better meet the needs of our schools. The organization’s mission is to support educational technology in our schools. TCEA’s goals include integrating technology into the schools, and providing educators the most current information regarding technology through several different forums. I particularly like that this organization seems to collaborate with higher education and business when determining the technology trends. I think this again ties in well with my philosophy of teaching the students using the tools and skills they will be seeing in the actual workforce.
Information literacy is understanding not only where to find information, but being able to evaluate it for its validity, worth and its uses. This has become a very large concern in education as well as society because of the sheer volume of information available. Information literacy is the skill of wading through the vast amount of “junk” information to find valid information to meet one’s needs.

I confess that my first reaction is to Google whatever information I am looking for. After about the first 5 minutes of wading through “junk” I will step back and remind myself to use better search methods and better resources such as Boolean logic and educators’ databases. Obviously, the information that I gather in my quick Google searches is probably not as valid as searches where I use appropriate mapping strategies. Honestly, whether I take the time to do extensive mapping depends on the subject matter and purpose of my research. After conducting the Mapit Activity, I have already used the AltaVista technique of searching by specific host and within a specific domain. I really appreciate the elimination of much of the excess information and I am able to customize my results. This technique along with the www.easywhois.com and the www.archive.org websites will be very valuable to me in the future when conducting research.

Web 2.0 technologies have and will continue to impact education. The advanced technology that is available is making it much easier and efficient to communicate and teach in much more efficient, effective and dynamic ways. The teachers and students are able to produce and share information in new and exciting ways that are not restricted to the traditional essay or discussion. Technology such as blogs, wikis, gadgets, and RSS feeds (to name a very few) allow learning to be an interactive and dynamic process that adapts and changes with the needs and wants of the participants. The classroom is able to move so far beyond the 4 physical walls on campus with this technology. There is the potential for amazing things to happen. With all of these advances and advantages of technology also comes the potential for corruption and serious ethical problems. Teaching in an environment which utilizes all of the potential resources also eliminates the traditional safe and controlled environment of the traditional classroom. The teacher is no longer able to dictate exactly what information to which the students are exposed, nor is she fully able to control what information the students may publish. This is where the importance of teaching ethical technology use and information literacy comes into play. I think that education should embrace and integrate emerging technology with the understanding that teaching ethics and information literacy is a necessary part of that process.

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