F.A.Q.

These Frequently Asked Questions (F.A.Q.) are from a collaborative document called “Writing Prompts for Teachers & Teacher Candidates“.
ETHICAL CONCERNS
  • What are the pros and cons of content filtering in schools?  
  • What are the unethical issues around music and movie downloading? How can this be addressed with your students?
  • What are some potential ethical implications of not incorporating educational technology into curriculum and/or formal education?
  • Should teachers be friends with their students on Facebook? Are there certain circumstances when is acceptable, or circumstances when it is not?
  • this How much personal information, in general, should you exchange with your students?  
  • What are our responsibilities to use (and teach students) to select images, text, video, and audio with proper citations? To understand and use images with copyright, public domain, and creative commons licenses?
  • What is the role of the teacher/school in the teaching of safety and appropriate use in social media?
  • How do we address problems of access in schools (i.e., unequal access to technology amongst students)? Is there an ethical role of schools or governments to increase access?
  • Are you aware of your status as a mandated reporter? What does it mean in your state or jurisdiction?
  • How do we keep up with the legal age requirements for different social media sites?
  • How do you deal with intellectual property in regard to wikis, blogs or other online resources you and your students create? Is there any school policy regulating student or teacher work online?

PEDAGOGICAL

  • Discuss the difference between technology as an “add-on” vs. technology as “ecological.”
  • What is the role of technology in teaching & learning (of course, there are various contexts, various definitions of tech)? [Alternatively… What roles does (can) educational technology play in a teacher’s pedagogical decision making?]
  • Convince your reluctant administrator that the use of (insert a specific example of technology integration) will enhance students’ learning experiences.
  • How can you plan for the day(s) when the Internet is turned off, the technology is unavailable, and your learning environment is radically un-empowered? How might your learners choose to cope?
  • How will you evaluate the effectiveness of the learning experiences you’ve designed for students? How will you include elements of student self-assessment/choice?
  • What can we learn about teaching from how people learn in informal learning environments?
  • What are examples of social media tools being used for student engagement and deep learning?
  • How can we use technology to differentiate instruction?
  • How do you envision using new literacy/media tools to advance your most critical pedagogical goals?
  • How can digital citizenship be taught through interdisciplinary collaboration?
  • In practical day to day terms how would you implement educational technology in a meaningful way that facilitates learning and is more than just skills in manipulating software?  Especially address how you would do this  for the very youngest learners (preK-2).
  • How will you determine which tools are the best options to meet your teaching objectives?
  • Think about how young people use technology for learning and for socializing and do they see a distinction in these different uses of technology? If so, what distinctions do they make?  If not, should they and how could you help them?
  • Think about your state’s current standards/frameworks- how will they change as most other states change over to the new Common Core standards and yours doesn’t. How will you facilitate any moves needed? Read the standards first!
  • How do you handle issues with the computer platform?  How do you support the student and make allowance?
  • What measures do you have in place to determine successful technology integration? What evidence are you gathering and how are you sharing?

ROLE OF EDTECH IN COGNITION (learning/thinking)

  • How does, can, and will information and communication technologies shape the way we think?
  • How much of current in-school learning is “un-empowered thinking” ?
  • What habits of mind can only be easily utilized with the appropriate technologies?
  • How can technology enhance student meta-cognition?
  • Provide examples of, and rationale for, selecting specific applications, programs, and/or tools that can assist students in their learning about how they think and learn (in general and/or content-area specific ways).  
  • How, if at all, have the ways folks learn (in general and/or in content-areas) changed given an increased access to information technologies and tools, authorship, and connectedness with others?
  • Consider a popular conceptualization of learning e.g. Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences or Costa’s Habits of Mind. How might the use of information technologies and tools impact your students’ “intelligences” or “habits of mind”?  

PERSONAL (and professional) HABITS RELATED TO TECHNOLOGY USE

  • You may create a blog as a requirement for this course.  Will you follow through and maintain the blog when you move into your professional practice?
  • Where do you find yourself in the changing digital landscape?
  • What does your daily/weekly usage look like?
  • Do you follow blogs? What are you looking for when you follow a blog?
  • How do you use technology in your everyday learning?
  • What is your virtual footprint, and how will it impact the opportunities for you to find employment?
  • What steps can/do/will you take to keep up with the emerging trends in educational technology?
  • As most teachers are “digital immigrants,” where does the responsibility for professional development lie? If it is a district initiative, is it the district’s responsibility to provide learning opportunities or is it yours as a lifelong learner?
  • Have you ever collaborated on a document or presentation online? (eg. Google Docs or Prezi or etherpad)
  • Do you think that planned “unplugged” periods of time facilitate a healthy balance between technology use and face to face interactions?

TECH AS TOOL (and TECH TOOLS?)

  • How do we balance the use of technology in teaching and learning with concerns of Nature Deficit Disorder and other similar activity concerns?
  • What are the essential tech terms a student should know?
  • How do you envision the use of the iPad or other similar devices in school?
  • How can technology be used to assist students who have special needs? Is there anything that technology can add that can’t be done without using technology?
  • What are the assumptions being made when we use terms like “digital native” and “digital immigrant?” What are the strengths/needs of either as technology continues to change?
  • How can teachers best model the positive, collaborative uses of ICTs to support and enhance teaching a learning?
  • How can we help our students use ICTs to learn with students from other countries, rather than simply learning ABOUT other countries?
  • What features would a well-designed student case for the iPad need to have?
  • As teachers, what will we do to move into the sharing information age? How will our students respond?
  • Make an argument for or against Youtube use (or, Facebook, Twitter, etc.)  in schools.
  • Do you believe that students should be able to use their cell phones in class? Validate your choice. Provide examples of best use.
  • What are the benefits and drawbacks of a teacher leveraging a particular tool or technology?   Frame your response around any one tool or category of tools. (e.g., http://www.smartpencentral.com)
  • Where are some examples of assistive technologies (i.e., voice-to-text software)  that you foresee having a broad impact in the classroom?  What adaptations should be considered in light of the expanding scope of such tools?
  • What, if anything do we want from learning platforms/VLEs as we move forward in K-12 education?
  • Should students be encouraged to use their own technology (including mobile phones) in school? What are the pros and cons?

ACCESS ISSUES

  • What does open access look like the classroom? How do aggregate readers work when students are asked to participate in interventions like SSR?
  • How do we address the problems of accessibility in schools (i.e.. students with assistive learning needs)?
  • How can technology authentically connect students to the world using more than one language?
  • How can we get rid of Website filters and actually trust teachers to handle situations as they arise?
  • What advice will you give to your students regarding their “digital footprint”?
  • Do “games” have anyplace in our classrooms? ( See http://www.wecanlearnonline.com  -“Learning with Gaming for Educators free online course)
  • Should current educational online content be “mobi-lized” to provide easier access/viewing via mobile devices such as phones?
FUTURE OF EDUCATION (Role of technology in education)
  • How do you see the role of instruction with/about technology changing in the next few years?
  • How can schools best use cell (mobile) phones to increase access and support and enhance teaching and learning?
  • What do you see as the future of education in a context where teaching and learning can happen anywhere, anytime, and with anyone?
  • Are schools becoming less relevant today? How must schools change to become more relevant to meet learners needs today?
  • How will/should classrooms in the future look different from classrooms today?
  • How do you predict you will use technology as a teacher?
  • Consider “Moore’s Law.” How do educators, educational organizations, and programs in general need to evolve in response to the rapid advancements in information and communications Technologies?
  • How do we help high schools and universities to become as innovative as elementary schools are?
  • How should universities prepare pre-service teachers for technology use in the classroom? Are intro/survey courses enough? Should they be offered later in education programs to capture budding pedagogy?
  • How do we give more time for teacher training for the integration of tech tools into the classroom?
  • How does access to technology impact the use of textbooks in the classroom? Will textbooks in a traditional sense be obsolete?
  • Is technology a disruptive force in education?
  • What are effective processes for professional development for teachers in using technology for teaching and learning?
  • Should the use of technology for teaching and learning be a compulsory element in initial teacher training?
  • How can technology complement the traditional gifts of master teaching, such as storytelling and interpersonal exchange while the rapidity of change seems to be increasing ‘screen’ time over the face to face experience.

TEACHER & EDTECH AS BRIDGER (to school community)

  • How will you use technology to engage parents as partners in their child’s learning?
  • What is the role of schools and technology in global relationships and global responsibilities?
  • What would you include in a presentation to parents on the use of social networking in learning environments?
  • How do you convince the reluctant teachers on your staff of the importance of using/understanding social media in the school and society? (Why convince them?)
  • What is our responsibility to assist other teachers in our building/district to extend their comfort with technology and share locally?
  • In your experiences (both as a student and as a teacher), is there a disconnect between IT services (district computer techs & IT philosophy) and classroom needs? If so, what can be done to bridge this gap?
  • What can school districts do to embrace social networking communities in their buildings? How do these communities extend the reach of instruction by way of continuous collaboration?
  • What can school or district leaders do to demonstrate and practice effective implementation of technology?

PHILOSOPHICAL QUESTIONS  

  • What is the role of technology in teaching & learning (of course, there are various contexts, various definitions of tech)?
  • Is social media a waste of time?
  • What are the implications of sharing/advocating what one has not personally experienced/validated?
  • Can technology even the playing field between the haves and the have nots? Is developing  technology education sustainable after school?  Is the non-levelling of the playing field intentional?
  • Why do you think that some educators have a negative attitude towards technology in education?
  • Why do classrooms today look so much like classrooms from 100 years ago? What factors and forces make it difficult for educators to have an effect on changing such simple variables as the learning environment?
  • Consider the “learning pods” used on Vulcan in the recent “Star Trek” movie reboot. What strengths do they provide to the needs of individual learner?  What issues do they present in the context of our current learning models?
  • How can we help teachers learn to approach teaching and learning in new ways, rather than simply teaching the way that they were taught?
  • In a collaborative culture, authorship has a reduced significance. Where does an educator draw the line between encouraging students to collaborate and identifying their individual work as a student?
  • Information and communication technologies can help students develop a range of skills required by the modern economy, such as learning how to learn, problem-solving, knowing how to acquire and evaluate information, but these are not reflected in the average school curriculum. The climate of standardized testing favors a focus on knowledge, rather than open-ended inquiries and the exchange of ideas with other schools and people. Standardized testing at the end of secondary school and the No Child Left Behind testing in America are still broadly based on a core of knowledge and the ability to produce. Why should teachers invest time in developing new techniques that employ educational technology when such lessons are not sufficiently valued by the system?
  • Why does the hot new ‘machinery’ of the storyteller always seem to distract from the teaching and learning of the story? Why do we spend so much energy discussing the flute when our students need to be experiencing the song? TV, PC, or PAD, over the decades, educators seem to continue many of the same wasteful practices.
  • Is technology paving the way for a dehumanisation or our society?

SOCIOLOGICAL ISSUES

  • Are there potential negative consequences on physical relationships when living in a computer-mediated social landscape? What might be some critical areas to think about in this regard? What might be some warning signs of too much time spent in virtual spaces? (Here is an excellent TED talk related to this idea. “We’re All Cyborgs Now”, by Amber Case)
  • What should education’s role be in helping students understand the importance of balancing a healthy lifestyle that is led both on- and off-line?
  • What is the role of social networking in how young people grow up, perceive and interact with the world today?
  • What are the implications of a move from expert knowledge to networked and crowd sourced knowledge – particularly for education including curriculum and pedagogy
 

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