ET605 Problem-based Approach
Learning Activities
David M. Marcovitz

Question: How can computer technology effectively be integrated into the curriculum?

This is a difficult question to answer. Technology is often used as an add-on to the curriculum, not an integral part of the curriculum. This generally makes its use ineffective. You will begin to explore this question during this semester by designing two learning activities that effectively use technology and integrate it into the curriculum. You can think of these learning activities as "mini-units" that take place over the course of several days of instruction. Your learning activities should be complete "mini-units" that cover a certain area of your curriculum, effectively integrate technology, and effectively assess what the students have learned.

You will divide into groups of three or four students and work on this with your group. You will work with the same group for both your learning activities.

There are a couple of electronic sources for curriculum ideas you might find useful.

  1. The primary resource you will use is the book National Educational Technology Standards for Students: Connecting Curriculum and Technology (NETS-S), available online at http://tinyurl.com/NETSBook. This book contains information about and examples of learning activities that meet the National Educational Technology Standards for Students.
  2. Next, you should look at http://www.webquest.org/ for examples of WebQuests. Click on Find WebQuests on the menu bar on the left.
  3. Finally, you might look at some of the lessons from the Arizona Technology Integration Matrix. These tend to be lessons (single class session), rather than learning activities (spanning multiple class sessions), but they give you a sense of how to integrate technology in different ways for different purposes.

All of these are effective models for integrating technology into the curriculum. Note that lessons in the NETS-S book are professionally created and reviewed and are all excellent examples, but the second source might not be reviewed; many of those examples are excellent, and many are not. The last source does not contain complete learning activities but briefer lessons.

Your goal is to create two learning activities that could be used in your classroom. You may use the template in Appendix B of NETS-S to create these activities or some other format. For curriculum standards, you should use the ones listed in Appendix A of NETS-S; the appropriate content standards from the Common Core, available from http://www.corestandards.org/; the appropriate content standards from the voluntary state curriculum, available at http://www.mdk12.org/instruction/curriculum/; or the appropriate content standards from your school system's curriculum guide. Note that the "Print Version" of the Voluntary State Curriculum standards is numbered for easier reference. For technology standards, use the 2007 NETS-S Student Profiles found at

http://www.iste.org/standards/standards-for-students/nets-for-students-2007-profiles

Whenever using numbers to reference standards, be sure to include a direct link to the Web page where the standards can be found.

You must use each of the following technologies at least once throughout the semester in your two learning activities:

Additionally, each of your learning activities must include at least 10 references to Web resources that will be useful to students as they complete the learning activities or as extension resources for students. The Web resources should be ordered in some way that makes sense for the activity and include a brief (one paragraph), original description of the resource and how it will be useful to students completing this activity. Generally, different pages from the same site do not count as different resources so you are looking for ten different sites.

You may use these technologies in more than one activity, and you may use other technologies that you find appropriate. Note that the final exam will be based on these technologies so each group member should be familiar with each of the technologies.

Your use of the technology might involve creating the technology for your students or your students creating the technology. If you will be creating the technology for your students, you should hand that in as part of the project. If you expect your students to create the technology, you should create an example of what you expect them to create and hand that in. For each technology, other than the Web page creation, students must create something of their own with that technology. This can involve creating the technology artifact from scratch or filling in a template. For example, you would not expect elementary-age students to create complex formulas in Excel, but it is perfectly reasonable to expect them to fill data into an Excel template in which you have included formulas. Special note for PowerPoint: While you may include a PowerPoint presentation that you share with the students, students must create their own PowerPoint as well. Special note for Excel: While Excel is useful for your own grading and even self-evaluation by the students, you must include Excel activities that interact with the curricular content and not simply evaluation of the project; this can be challenging for some subject areas so be sure to consult with your instructor if you are having difficulty generating ideas.

All projects should be given to the instructor in electronic form (zipped and uploaded to the Assignment in Moodle). All written work should be typed in a word processor with numbered pages and one-inch margins when appropriate or made available online via a wiki, Google Docs, or other appropriate site. Each project should include a cover sheet with a title for the project and the names of all members of the group.

Each group member must hand in a Group Self Evaluation Form. This form should be filled out electronically (you must have the most recent version of Adobe Reader). The form should be uploaded to Moodle by each individual (do not include the forms in the zipped folder with the rest of the project). These forms are confidential. Generally, each group member receives the same grade for a project, but the Group Self Evaluation Forms might be used to adjust individual group members' grades.

The group should complete a Technologies Checklist to indicate what technologies are being used and turned in for a grade with each Learning Activity. Only checked items will be graded. You might, for example, choose to use a small spreadsheet in a project with the understanding that the spreadsheet does not fulfill all the "Excellent" requirements of the rubric. In that case, you would not check the spreadsheet box. You would, instead, do a more elaborate spreadsheet in another learning activity and check the spreadsheet box when handing in that learning activity.

Detailed requirements for the Learning Activities and the technology for the Learning Activities can be found in the rubrics (Adobe Reader required).

Note that some of the technology requirements might not match your own needs exactly. In this case you should consult your instructor. You may be able to create several smaller technology examples, or you may choose to create an example that is more complex than what you actually would use, but if you want to have your project vary from the requirements, be sure to consult your instructor.

What to hand in (all electronic):

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This page was prepared by Dr. David M. Marcovitz.

Last Updated: January 3, 2014