Tuesday, December 3, 2013

School Evaluation Summary

At first, I thought that my findings might "WOW" me or give me a different perspective of what I thought the institution that I work for, provided for students. I can honestly say that there were no great misunderstandings or behind the scene's issues that I didn't know about. My suspicions were correct, the administration is very innovative and has great vision for where we can go as a school but lacks the follow through when making it a reality.

I think that it is important to step back and look at your school and conduct an assessment of it, just like this assignment. That way we can use it as a first step to bridging the gap of that perceived digital divide. I can now take this back to my Dean and show my findings as an observer and interviewer and hopefully turn the sporadic "Islands" paradigm into a consistency.

I enjoyed this assignment and am grateful for the opportunity to probe deeper into the root of our technological shortcomings and hopefully be a game changer in my institutional technology implementation.



Monday, November 25, 2013

Digital Divide/Digital Inequality

I may have approached this assignment in a different way, but I feel that the digital divide that my institution faces are created by themselves. The institution made a move to bridge that digital divide gap by providing iPad's in the cost of tuition. Initially, this seemed like a good idea but then they found that they spent more time troubleshooting the big issues than they did using the iPad in the classroom.

I saw that the first issue was that they did not install enough WiFi access points to cover all of the classrooms. What was happening was students were trying to load their e-text for class or engage in classroom web activities and there was sporadic connection. At one point, some classes were moving into the hallways (huddled under the access points) to complete simple classroom tasks.

The next issue, was that the internet became overwhelmed by usage and this was because the connection had to be routed from Boise to Pittsburg, PA and back. This not only slowed down the ability for the students to perform tasks but hindered the instructor's ability to show video's, access local powerpoint presentations and access local images that they use on a daily basis.

Finally, instructor's found themselves unable to help guide students through simple troubleshooting issues, like connecting to the internet or loading their e-text. These issues take away from valuable classroom learning and could all be avoided by implementation planning.

Even though each student had access to the device itself, the divide was that some of the students didn't really HAVE access. I see this as an institutional digital divide...one that could totally be prevented.

Please see my Voice Thread Presentation


the Google Doc Presentation

Monday, November 18, 2013

Technology Use Planning Overview

Technology Use Planning
Technology use planning is the process by which an educational entity plans for what the needs will be for a school or a district and then what technology will be available for use. It is, however, not limited just hardware. It serves as a way to decide what type and how technology should be used and when would be the optimal time to implement.
How might the new National Educational Technology Plan 2010 be an effective and powerful resource for technology use planning?
I see the new National Educational Technology Plan 2010 being a great guideline to improving the educational plan that will be delivered to an ever-changing learner. That being said, I feel that this plan definitely has its good points but it also has some areas that can be improved upon. The NETP 2010 is good, in that it gives a very specific, measurable goal. Is this goal achievable? We’ll see. If I could choose to focus on one of the two goals, I would focus more on making sure that graduates are prepared for the higher education environment.
Short Term vs. Long Term?
I tend to agree with Mr. See about this topic. That being said, I think that there are also instances that call for more long-term planning. If you are looking at hardware, say computers, I say that a district (or institution) should be careful about locking into hardware that could be outdated in the next year. Many big brands offer schools a great lease program, which would need to be worked into the annual budget planning.
When an entity plans for certain processes, for example, electronic records or web-based learning tools, long term planning is sometimes the better option, especially when training faculty is involved.
What do you think about his comment that "effective technology plans focus on applications, not technology?" Do you agree/disagree?
I whole-heartedly agree. How do you know which way to walk, if you don’t know what your destination is? Often times in education, leaders are so focused on numbers or fads that they end up spending more on accessories and training just to make the original device usable for students. Planning committees should focus more on what the desired outcome is and then decide what tools they need to accomplish those goals.
What experiences have you had with technology use planning and what have you seen for outcomes (both good and bad?)

The institution that I work for decided to make the leap to iPad’s for all students and switch to all e-text, instead of offering physical textbooks in the “bookstore”. This, of course, came quickly, with no training for the faculty and without having all of the text completely converted to e-text. The college spent more on additional training and to increase the time that it took the publishers to create an e-text version.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Tech Trends

Please click here to view my Tech Trends Assignment.

With so many advances in technology and healthcare, it only seems fitting that we utilize that technology in healthcare education. I see 3D printing as one of the big advancements in medicine. I have read articles about constructing stents and cartilage out of living tissue and implanting them in the body. That just seems crazy to me, but if it's happening, then I have an obligation to inform my surgical technology students about these advancements.

I enjoyed doing the research for this assignment, but had a great deal of trouble finding peer reviewed articles because the technology is so new.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

EDTECH Research

This is my link to my Research Assignment.

I chose iPad utilization in the classroom as a topic, because I feel that this is quickly becoming the current technology in the classroom. I know that a lot of educators have an issue making the leap to tablets or etext. Like many, I remember when the internet was introduced in the schools and the challenges that teachers and students faced. With all of those challenges, we still made the change and it has completely changed the game for education.

The institution that I work for has implemented including an iPad into the tuition for every student. With that many iPads in every classroom, it is going present many challenges for the institution, faculty and student body. There is always a learning curve with new technology and that is also accompanied by many critics. That being said, I have noticed that the people who are open minded and embrace a change, find the most ways to utilize the iPad effectively.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

RSS in Education

When I started this assignment, I found that I was really afraid of it. I think that my fear stemmed from my lack of knowledge of RSS and then I had to create a video, teaching something that I wasn't comfortable with. After all of that fear and anxiety, I started using Feedly. I found that as I started exploring and utilizing Feedly, I quickly became addicted to it. I absolutely love the ability to customize and choose what I want to read, without having to wade through undesirable information.

The ability to use RSS in my classroom, is a complete no brainer. In the field of surgery, technology and techniques are changing almost on a daily basis. I am incorporating it my class by having them start a Feedly account and start collecting subscriptions to different surgical sites. This will make it so they are staying current in the field. It also serves as tool for them to collect ideas for future research papers.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Elements of Educational Technology

Elements of EDTECH

I see now why all of my fellow teachers are so resistant to change! We have been teaching as traditional "brick and mortar" institutions for so long that when you have to create something new (an online teaching environment), we feel so vulnerable. When I started this course, it  was very difficult for me to get out of my comfort zone of, in class lecture and assignments, and even start thinking of switching it up.

Educational Technology is a field that isn't just growing but is quickly becoming a necessity. I liked reading about the Elements of Educational Technology because it really solidified how I need to approach this program. I think it forces you to think about every angle of your website, blog, online forums, etc. I have met many teachers that "fake it, till they make it" in the classroom and that is definitely not possible online. You are out there for all to see (and see again and again and again). I feel that Educational Technology raises the bar for all teachers, are you up for the challenge?

Please check out my opinion on elements:

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Hello! My name is Rob Blackston. I have been in education for about 5 years and still feel like a novice everyday. I am very comfortable in the classroom, but the admin side has surprises around every corner. This Learning Log will not only help me get where I'm going, but it will help me see where I've been. I think that it will be a great tool to help me organize my portfolio, as well as be  "toolbox" for my teaching.