Reading Assignment 2

Below are the links for your next reading assignment. It will be due Sept 4 (Wed) but the following reading will be due Sept 8 (Sun) so we can get onto a regular schedule. We will discuss this in class but you are welcome to get a head start if you wish. I’ll post the 3rd reading soon as well.

Please visit Bernajean Porter’s website and read the information about the uses of technology and review her learning spectrum. Be sure to follow the links for literacy, adaptive and transforming uses for more detailed information. These terms and concepts are central to the class. For your reflections (added as a comment to this post) share some of your school experiences with technology and discuss which of the categories (literacy, adaptive, transforming) it might fit and what you got out of the experience. Which type of technology use seems best to you and why?


24 thoughts on “Reading Assignment 2

  1. I thought Bernajean Porter’s Website was very interesting. I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to go through every tab or certain ones, so I just read through all of them. As I was reading though each tab, there was an article that caught my eye. Under the tab: BJP’s Articles, I really enjoyed reading the article, Technology’s Four Roles in Student Achievement. I never realized how important effective technology can be every child. If a child isn’t taught the proper way to use a computer or is unclear about some type of technology, then it isn’t going to be effective for them. In the article about the Four Roles in Student Achievement, there were four roles in student achievement that were addressed. Out of the four roles, the one that I liked reading about the most was the role 2. It talked about how technology can be a way to support traditional student assessment. For instance, one way was having online grade books, that way it would increase communication with students and parents in real time. I think that it is so important to try and get the parents involved with their child’s education, so having an online grade book might be beneficial to have and it might be worth a shot in getting parents and students involved in real time.

    I also thought Bernajean Porter’s learning spectrum was interesting and very new to me. I honestly have never heard about or seen the Learning Spectrum before. The three broad categories of technology uses for teaching and learning that I learned about was (1) Literacy Uses (2) Adapting Uses and (3) Transforming Uses. As I was reading through each category I knew right away which one was the most relevant to me in school. In Elementary School, I didn’t have very many experiences with technology. There was never any computers in my classrooms for students to use, there was just the teachers computer where it was strictly just for the teacher. However, we did have a lab in a separate room where there was many computers. I don’t remember any of my teachers taking the class down to the lab to learn something new, instead they would just send us down to the lab if we completed our work. The category that this would fit would be “Literacy Uses” because the teachers would allow students to go to the computer lab if our “real work” was finished. Even though, going to the computer lab when my work was finished wasn’t really an experience for me, there were many things that I was able to do. One thing that I remember always doing on the computers is painting in the paint program. When I look back, I feel like the teacher wasn’t familiar with different forms and tools of technology ( on the computer), so that’s why I would never learn anything new.

    However, in Middle School, I became more familiar with different programs of technology on a computer. There was one class where I was able to learn about a camera and research all the different tools that was on a camera. I was able to go outside, explore, and take pictures. After I took my pictures I was able to look at them on a computer and mess around with the different features. That is an experience that I will never forget! It was fun and it also taught me a lot because I was able to take the camera and explore on my own. I’m not sure what category this would fit under but I am thinking “Transforming Uses” because I was able to use a camera and explore the different tools. It was available in the classroom at all times.

    I think the “Adaptive Uses” seems the best to me because it’s in-between the Literacy Uses and the Transforming Uses. I like the Adaptive Uses because teachers are telling the same stories to children, but with new tools every time. I also think that when students are using a computer, it should be a time for them to be productive such as learning new tools or working on something that they were struggling with the day before. As a child I thought painting in a paint program was fun and productive at first, but after a couple of days, I should have been learning and doing something different. I also like the Adaptive Uses because there are labs, and the classrooms should contain some mobile equipment in the classroom, or one computer per classroom. I think it is important for every classroom to have a computer available to the students.

    • Adapting uses are probably the most common along with literacy uses. Adapting means the teacher has adapted some piece of content or lesson to have a tech element where it did not before. You have undoubtedly been asked to make powerpoints where before the teacher probably had students make display boards or write a paper. The lesson is probably the same as it was before but it has been adapted to include tech. This is a transition phase for teachers. New teachers should probably skip this and work on developing transforming lessons right from the start.

  2. While I was reading this article, I believe I have used each type of technology. The one I believed I used most in school would be the technology literacy uses. This is when teachers ask the teachers to do the assignment on a certain software like word or power point, etc. I took a college course last year and the only technology we involved was Microsoft. Our only requirement for the semester was to be proficient in using each one of Microsoft programs. The teacher would just send us to work each period on just that one technology use. I only learned how to use the certain programs but it was always just technology centered. Out of those three technology uses I feel that the transforming uses are the most interesting. This one is student centered and allows for the most creativity out of each student. It seems to be the one that will keep student’s attention and drive them on their own to achieve their best work. This article was very beneficial to read and learn about the different uses of technology.

  3. It was a very long time ago but it is the best example I could think of…in elementary school, we would go to the computer lab to work on assignments. When we were finished, we were allowed to play the games that were already installed on the computers. I cannot think of the name of the game, but my favorite one to play was math oriented and involved a stagecoach and locomotive. I believe this is an example of the literacy category because in the reading, under typical activities, it stated “use of computers when real work is finished ” which is exactly what we were told to do. I really enjoyed this because I am/was not good at math and I found this game helpful and it made me actually want to do math. This use of technology really helped me see math in a new way and turned math from a negative thing to a positive thing. I personally think that literacy is the best type because it is not forcing the students to use technology, but rather giving them the opportunity to explore it and see if they like it or not. If they like it, they then have to option to incorporate it more into their life. But if they don’t like it, then they are not being forced to use it when they don’t like or understand it.

  4. (I am focusing on the younger ages, due to the fact that I want to work with elementary aged kids, or younger)

    After reading the three different types, I am sad to say that the only experience with technology that I had in elementary school was Literacy uses. I only remember going down to the computer lab for a quick lesson on how to ‘properly’ use a keyboard and then we were free to play SIMS the rest of class, as long as we finished our work. We would do timed ‘tests’ to see how accurate and fast we could type but that was pretty few and far between. Elementary school was a long time ago so I know I could be forgetting some lessons they taught us. However, I really do not remember them using adaptive or transforming uses.

    If I had to pick my favorite form, or the one that makes the most sense, I couldn’t. I think all three of those uses of technology are essential. Kids need to learn the basics with literacy, then move up to learn more advanced skills with adaptive uses, then finally be able to use technology for anything, anywhere with transformative uses like Benjamin Porter stated. I guess transformative technology seems the make the most sense in how ‘useful’ it is. However, you can’t have transformative without learning the other two first. It’s like the saying, “You have to walk before you can run”.

    • There does have to be some degree of literacy use in school, but I think we are finding that we as teachers do not need to teach literacy lessons. Instead, if Mitra’s experiments are any indication, students can be given tasks and they will “figure out” the tech if the task is interesting and engaging.

      I’m not sure adapting uses have much use. The problem here is we are simply using old lessons and jazzing them up with some tech. Students often end up learning less because the assignment isn’t high level (often just regurgitation) and it’s really easy to copy/paste content.

      Transforming uses are the real game changer and what we should be putting most of our focus on.

  5. To me, I think they are all important. In Elementary school I remember spending a lot time the computer lab. We would do these games that helped us practice with our typing skills and then after each level there would be a timed test. Once we completed the levels we needed to for the day we could play other games or continue going on to more levels. I would say that would be the literacy and adaptive uses. I didn’t really have experience with the transforming uses until high school and college. I think it is important that all three are taught. I think starting with literacy, then adaptive and then transforming. Transforming is the highest level and they need the other two uses in order for them to understand it. They need to have the basic knowledge of technology before they can fully express their creativity with the transformation use. For younger kids I would say that the literacy and adaptive are best, but for older kids the transformative would be best if they have already been taught the literacy and adaptive uses.

    • Keep in mind that we are not really talking about “teaching” literacy/adapting/transforming uses. Instead, we as teachers design lessons that use technology in a literacy/adapting/transforming way. While there may be times when lessons use tech in literacy/adapting ways, the goal for 21st century teaching is using tech in transforming ways.

  6. Reading about the different ways technology is taught and how lesson plans can be created around the three. I think that all through m schooling my teachers used literacy to help us explore the computer. Although I think it is important I think it is an easy way to have the computer “babysit” when the children get done with their work. That creates problems because what happens for the kids who don’t finish their “real work” and they never get the chance to go the computer lab. Does that create confidence for those children? Using this technique those children already know they are different at such a young age. It is our job as educators to create lesson plans that involve technology not view it as play time. I thought the transforming use would be the most helpful. I think it is important that the students know that they can use what we teach them in real life and continue to use the tools in everyday life. I think it is a good tool to help them connect with the community and explore all the great resources they have at the tip of their finger.

  7. In elementary school teachers would find creative ways to use technology of different sorts. Looking back, even then technology was becoming important. I remember my second grade class would listen to books through audio, use computers to begin to learn the keyboard, and were given access to simple games. I believe that in every aspect literacy was used to help explore. I’ve of my largest memories, was learning about the migration of people westward by playing Oregon trail I believe in 5th grade.
    In high school lesson plans began to be adapted using technology. Many classes were used computers to create PowerPoint presentations, helping to guide lectures. Students were required to create presentations also, and many used computers also.
    I believe that it is important to implement technology into lesson plans. Students will continue to learn through instruction and technology. I believe that as teachers we need to use technology as an assisted aide. But remember that computers, tablets, listening device ectera are not to take over the class, become the teacher, or “baby sit” students.

    • Oregon Trail was before its time. It was a simulation and problem solving game but I never saw it used this way. Usually, it seemed it was being used to kill time or give students some “information” about life on the OT. Kids just shot things.

  8. The article that caught my interest was about literacy uses. It reminded me about the times when I used technology in my elementary days. The first time I used a computer was when I was in kindergarten. What we did in this class was a lot of reading activities in the computer and a few problem solving games. She will sit us down on the floor and will lecture about what we were going to do on that day. She will demonstrate what we needed to do and show us how to get there and how to sign in to the computer. There were a few applications that we used. What I remember was that we used the application paint all the time. She will tell us what to create and copy and paste it into a different application to create a comic book in the computer, and in this was when I was a first grader. When we were done with the work, we had free time and play games that were provided on the computer. I like this method better than the rest. It is easier for the students to learn how to use a computer by themselves and learning literacy at the same time.

    • In BJP’s language, literacy uses are not related to reading literacy but to the learning of the technology. In other words, reading literacy and computer literacy are separate things. I like your example about creating comics. It sounds maybe a bit teacher directed, but that is the kind of creativity we should be going for.

  9. I think that by far the most common use in the classroom is literary use. So many of to days lessons have not been updated to use 21st century technology that I feel like teachers use computers as something to fall back on when the students “real work” is done. I remember as a younger child in elementary school we had a group of computers in the back of the classroom and as we were finished we could use the computers to do math or spelling drills. I also remember that we had to do Mavis beacon typing where we would have to do all of these typing drills and you couldn’t go on to the next lesson until you had passed her typing test with the little orange covers over the keyboard. I think that a great deal of the technology that we did integrate into the lessons were somewhat unorganized. When I was in early elementary school computers were just starting to become commonplace and teachers hadn’t been trained how to integrate them into lessons in any other way than drills and free time practice. By the time I was in high school they were just starting to integrate technology into the lessons by using multimedia projects and using various sources to find information. I think that as we bring new teachers that are more fluent in 21st century technology and teaching, the lessons for all age groups will gravitate away from pen and paper lessons and toward student discovery and freedom using all sorts of creative forms of technology to both obtain and present information.

  10. My experience with technology over the years has not been great. I can use the basic programs on a computer such as Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, and the Internet. Anything besides those I get lost and confused and mad. So I choose not to use the other programs. I am open to new ones as long as I have someone teaching me how to use them. That’s my problem is that I don’t have someone teaching me how to use pieces of technology. Even using Word sometimes makes me angry because I won’t know how to fix something. And to be completely honest I don’t know half of the things that Bernajean Porter talked about on her website about the different uses of technology. I understood most of the literacy uses, but not the others. I’m sure I’ve used all of the different uses at some point. I just didn’t understand hardly any of the terms that she used.

    • We’ll talk more in class about the various uses so hopefully it will all make sense – eventually. Your frustrations with tech are common. Fortunately, you will have a classroom full of students to teach you all kinds of stuff. Seriously, a 21st century classroom isn’t one in which the teacher assigns lots of tech projects but one in which the teacher creates opportunities for learning and exploration and the students select and use tech however they wish. Teachers should tap into student exploration in order to learn new things themselves. “Oh, wow, how did you do that?”

  11. I remember when I was in elementary school and we would go to the library on certain days to use the computer lab. We would be able to play Oregon Trail if we completed our keyboarding assignments. The structure was very much a literacy use of technology and not transforming. There was one lady who ran the lab time and she would come and help if there where any technical difficulty. I remember it was fun and exciting day of the week for me and I looked forward to being able to work on the computers but had to complete any other assignments before being able to use the computers. In college I have used transforming and adaptive technology. I took a women’s studies class online and all of our projects, work, reading was provided through various software. Our final project we had to write a paper about a current women’s rights issue and post it to a drop box. We then had to write a proposal for a solution and post it to a discussion board. Finally we had to do some sort of action so most of us wrote senators or state representatives our suggested solution for the problem via e-mail. We also were required to register to one of a huge list of women’s organizations via their website. Along with other similar assignments I encountered in online classes. I loved the transforming and adaptive style of teaching with technology it really made me think and work but with more impact and effectiveness.

    • We’ll discuss this more in class but adapting and transforming uses are pretty much opposites. Adapting = adding tech to old lessons with little to no change in the learning. Transforming = using tech to support new, students-centered and inquiry-based lessons in order to enhance or extend the learning.

  12. Throughout my schooling experience I have had a significant amount of interaction with technology. From 2nd grade to 8th grade I was enrolled in an online public school known as K12 and throughout the many years that I was in that program I believe I can safely say that never once did I use participate in a transforming use of technology. The only instance that I think is remotely close is when I and a partner created a presentation on people with developmental disabilities for an extracurricular club in high school.
    I am greatly impressed with the transforming method of utilizing technology in education. I think that most educators believe that these different groups are stages through which a technological learner must advance, however I do not think that to be the case. Each of these groups are a different kind of learning. While the literacy and adaptive methods have their advantages, there is no goal or ultimate purpose for their use.
    In the case of the literacy use of technology, you could just as easily give a student a book about computers and they could read it and probably glean the same information as being told how to do everything. As far as the adaptive method goes, with the right reading material it would be just as easy to complete the same assignments with out technology. The same thought process would be taking place. We should move away from the same analytic learning methods and pursue instead pursue a more global and inquiry based educational process. This is exactly what the transforming process has the potential for.

  13. I was highly interested in the “transforming uses” tab on this article. I had minimal interaction with technology in my years of rural public schooling. It wasn’t until college that i was able to fully appreciate technology for any significant learning purpose. That being said, I feel that the other two uses, literary and adaptive, were important teaching tools for students to be able to understand the technology that they were provided with. Literary uses for technology found its way into my early childhood education via typing tests and some “time killing” games. As I reflect back, I find that technology was underutilized and often abused by the students and teachers. There was no critical thinking involved while I was playing OT or any other games. The one program that did get utilized in my high school career was AutoCAD, where the students collaborated and designed buildings for the school, to code. The students needed to first understand what the building regulations were, and then they could design a better functioning building than the one in its place. The articles that BJP put out are quite real, in which only the first two, Literary and adaptive uses of technology are utilized, but I believe that student driven inquiry could be the answer to some of the issues with technology in the public school system.

  14. Changing up the way that we teach is always important, as well as having different sources of technology. So not only is it important to have the students learn how to use a computer but, students should learn other sources of technology. It is important that students lean more than one way of doing something. Since technology is changing every day. Teachers should teach how literacy could be used with technology.

  15. When I was reading this, I could only think about the lack of technology we had in my schools. I mean we had computer labs and we would go down to those to work on projects or papers sometimes but I honestly didn’t really know how to do half of what the teachers were having us do. I feel like they almost expected us to know everything they were talking about and I know my high school had a computer class but I never took it so some of these basic ideas were new to me. We got assigned a google docs account I want to say our freshman year and I honestly never used it until my senior year because it was just the easiest way for me to be able to save work where I could always access it and be able to get immediate feedback on it from the other students in my class or the teacher. And I really don’t feel like it was ever emphasized that I should take that computer class. I managed just fine learning the technology as we used it in the classes and it was something I should have done to familiarize myself with it but I just never thought about it. Now I’m starting to understand more of the significance of technology and being able to use it at any grade level.

  16. All throughout school I can remember using the literacy use. This seems like a very common one after reading other posts. I can remember that the computer was used as a reward. When classroom assignments were done, computers could be used to fill time. I think this is what we are trying to change with 21st century learning. Instead of uses technology as a reward for getting “real work” finished, it will become the real work. I cannot say that I never used the computers in school, because even in elementary school I had a computers class where we would type, but even then, it was used as a reward. When we finished our typing we were then allowed to play games.

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