As technology becomes more prevalent as a teaching tool, teachers must understand how to incorporate technology effectively. This does not mean that all teaching should be done with technology; rather, when technology is used in the classroom it should add value to the lesson for the students, teacher, or both. What is meant by 'value added,' and has any group created a document that defines 'value added'? The International Society for Technology in Education publishes the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS), and this document defines five standards in which teachers should be competent. These are:
  1. Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity;
  2. Design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments;
  3. Model digital-age work and learning;
  4. Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility;
  5. Engage in professional growth and leadership.

By accomplishing these standards, teachers should know how to leverage technology for the most added value in all aspects of education. To prove my competency, for each standard I will provide more in-depth details about the standard and present artifacts that highlight work I have created or found.

Standard 1: Facilitate and inspire student learning and creativity.

Teachers use their knowledge of subject matter, teaching and learning, and technology to facilitate experiences that advance student learning, creativity, and innovation in both face-to-face and virtual environments.

In physics, there are experiments for students to perform that are worthwhile yet cost-prohibitive for public schools. Technology can help students still have these experiences, while reducing the monetary and time costs by many orders of magnitude. One such program that provides students with an open-ended environment is Algodoo, and further information about the program may be found at Algodoo in the Physics Classroom. This website was created by Greg Maust, a colleague in the Secondary Science Curriculum and Instruction Program. When I am teaching, this program and others will help students learn about physics principles and allow for creativity when designing and solving problems.

Standard 2: Design and develop digital-age learning experiences and assessments.

Teachers design, develop, and evaluate authentic learning experiences and assessment incorporating contemporary tools and resources to maximize content learning in context and to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes identified in the NETS-Students.

For my science methods course, I had to develop an entire unit of lessons. This is the first lesson from the unit (on waves), and incorporates an online simulation in addition to other technologies. The following .pdf files are the lesson plan and the presentation I will give to students:
Belcher_Technology Enhanced Lesson Plan.pdf
Belcher_Waves Lesson 1.pdf

Standard 3: Model digital-age work and learning.

Teachers exhibit knowledge, skills, and work processes representative of an innovative professional in a global and digital society.

As an undergraduate student at the College of William and Mary, I worked in a physics laboratory for two years with Dr. Irina Novikova. In her research group I learned very much about technology, because all of the data recording and presentation was done with a computer. These skills transfer to teaching physics, because through this experience I am now comfortable enough with everyday technology to effectively integrate it into my teaching. In addition, for a technology class in the School of Education I have created a website detailing classroom uses of online simulations of light and waves. This page may be found at Applets for Light and Waves.

Standard 4: Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility.

Teachers understand local and global societal issues and responsibilities in an evolving digital culture and exhibit legal and ethical behavior in their professional practices.

To learn about copyright and fair use rules, I was required to read several articles for the technology class. One article described copyright basics, and the other described the 'fair use' rule. The 'fair use' rule article provided five questions to keep in mind when deciding if the information I am using constitutes 'fair use,' and these are important. As I compile more materials for teaching I will refer back to these questions, and I will also teach my students the importance of citing their work and 'fair use.'

Standard 5: Engage in professional growth and leadership.

Teachers continuously improve their professional practice, model lifelong learning, and exhibit leadership in their school and professional community by promoting and demonstrating the effective use of digital tools and resources.

Through the National Science Teachers Association, I have subscribed to several professional development listserves. These have been very enlightening, because it is a chance to 'listen in' on teachers a various levels as they discuss different aspects of teaching. There have been some excellent threads, with the most notable coming from how different teachers operationally define concepts such as potential energy and the gravity at the center of an object. One thread asked for help finding online simulations, and I offered my Connexions page on Applets for Light and Waves. I asked for and received good feedback from the community, including some very positive comments from other teachers.