Sharing ideas on Education, Leadership and Life

Thursday, January 31, 2013


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As many of you may know,  I am active on twitter.  I recently saw a tweet requesting that the educational community no longer refer to educational technology as “Ed Tech”, but rather just “education”. I completely agree with this sentiment since technology is not something extraneous to education.  If used in the proper way, technology , it should be PART of education Just as we go about our everyday life utilizing technology to enhance access to our surroundings, so too technology, if used in the proper way, should be improving our children’s education.
@AngelaMaires a noted educator and author offers the following acronym to highlight how technology should be used in the RIGHT way.
R-Real: Technology must make the learning real
I-Impact: Technology must have an impact on our students
G-Global:Technology allows learning to be global and reach beyond  the classroom walls
H-Honor: Technology allows our children to be passionate about their learning
T- Talent: Technology allows students who may struggle with traditional academic approaches to show their true talent and shine

Below are some of the ways  that technology is being used at OCA in this RIGHT way  to advance and improve our student’s education:

1. Learning is not confined to the classroom, but students connect to the outside world in ways never before possible. Our 4th grade did a mystery geography skype with a school in Denver and our 5th graders participated in an online Hebrew class with teachers in Israel. 
2. Not only do student connect to the world, but they  experience things through technology which would not be possible otherwise. Imagine exploring the surface of the moon through your web browser, swimming to the bottom of the ocean, or exploring the Beit Hamikdash- Our 3rd grade did a webquest about Native Americans and will collaborate and develop projects based on their Internet research. Mrs. Taragin has created a Edmodo group called "Native Americans" which each student has joined so each student can easily access websites  they  identified  to do their research. 
3. Technology allows for opens lines of communication between administration, teachers, parents, and students. 
4. Multimedia can enrich the overall learning experience.  Our math curriculum provides the students with  hands on, interactive math lessons.  Students record themselves reading as they read a story on the iPad downloaded on  "audionote", student replays and judge themselves whether or not they used expression and  how long it took them to read. After listening to the recording, students reread the paragraph and try to beat their initial time 
5. Technology allows students to publish their work rather than just handing in a report. Our 5th graders published their own auto biographies and our 2nd grade  created a "Homophone Pictionary" in Publisher. To do this, the children merge language arts skills on homophones with hands on computer skills.
6. Technology allows students to take ownership of their learning and individualize their learning goals 
7. Technology is a fundamental component of our world and our children are learning the relevant 21st Century skills to help them become contributing members of society.
8. Technology also allows children to engage in important traditional lessons such as increased collaboration and  creativity.  A prime example are the voice threads and Prezis that our Middle School  girls use in both Judaic and General studies. Our children focus on evaluating ideas, analyzing data and comparing different  opinions in a respectful way.  

The usage of technology the within the classroom for the hype and excitement is not the educational philosophy of OCA.  Our primary focus is to ensure the well being of our students, to maximize our children’s learning, teach them to respect their peers  and to expose them  to the wonders of the world in which we live.  We must remember that technology is simply a means to that goal. 

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