Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Final Reflective Post

I have learned so much valuable information this semester in the EME2040 class that will help me in the future as a teacher.  Before this class I was uncertain how integrating technology into the classroom would benefit students.  But I now realize that if technology is used appropriately and correctly it helps students grasp concepts and stimulates learning at a higher level.  Technology allows teachers to reach those students who have learning difficulties or who may not be interested in a certain subject.  Learning becomes more interesting and fun when technology is added.  The YouTube video below explains how technology in an elementary classroom can benefit students in a number of ways.  

This class was challenging, but I enjoyed working on the different assignments.  My favorites were the Webquest and the Collaborative Lesson Plan.  When a normal lesson plan is transformed and built into a Webquest students learn at a higher level.  I know that this will be a valuable tool for my classroom and I believe students will benefit and enjoy learning with Webquests.  

I enjoyed working on the Collaborative Lesson Plan because it involved preparing a lesson for students who may be in your class that do not fully understand English.  I became interested in this area of teaching when I learned how students who come to America from other countries struggle in the classroom to learn.  They have the capability to learn but due to the language barrier they often fall behind and feel intimidated.  I hope I can make a difference and help these students be successful. 

There are so many useful technology recourses available to teachers than can make their jobs easier and more efficient.  Some of my favorites are:

Delicious.com:  This website allows you to save valuable links in one place and access them anywhere you have an internet connection. 

Weebly.com:  This website allows teachers to easily create a class website that both students and parents can access to keep up with what is going on in the classroom.

Student Participation System:  This tools allows students to participate in a discussion by answering questions using a clicker.  The teacher immediately sees the responses and knows whether to go over a particular point in the lesson or to continue.  This gives opportunity for feedback which allows the student to better process the information that is being taught at that moment. 

Teachers also can use:

Social Media
Educational websites
Lesson planning websites

And the list goes on.....

Teachers have such an important job in educating children.  I believe some people are just meant to be teachers.  As teachers what are some of the most important things to teach, to be, to do?  I found this interesting article on teachthought.com: Teacher: This is What I Need From You that answers these questions from a student’s perspective.     

This poem by William Arthur Ward says it all:

The mediocre teacher tells.
The good teacher explains.
The superior teacher demonstrates.
The great teacher inspires.

-- William Arthur Ward

Krehbiel, Kelsey, (2014, March 25). Technology in Elementary Classrooms.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DoR9j6i6mKA

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Nichols, Jennifer. (2014, December 3). Teacher: This is What I Need From You. Retrived from http://www.teachthought.com/learning/10-things-your-students-need-from-you/

San Diego State University. (2009, July 31).  What is a WebQuest.  Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v7UynehA_l0

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Digital Badge L

Because chapter 12 focuses on integrating technology and creating change in the classroom, I feel it is important to stay informed of the latest technology tools.  On page 300 of the textbook, there are a number of good resources that could help.  I found that ICT Magic has a lot of useful web tool suggestions that could be used in the classroom.  But it takes more than just having a list of tools to refer to, according to Maloy on page 298, teachers need to have the correct mindset to ask how computers, the internet and any other technology tools can help students meet their learning goals. 

I believe that integrating technology in the classroom may be easier to implement for a beginning teacher.  This is because they have not yet delivered any lessons, so it would be easier to plan lessons around different technology tools.  Although, on page 303 of the textbook, to integrate technology smoothly, teachers need administrative support and professional development training and the necessary resources.  The use of technology is intended to enhance learning, therefore, as stated on page 304 when technology it used as a reward or punishment it no longer is a valuable tool in the classroom.  I believe is better for students to be taught to have intrinsic motivation to complete their assignments or have good behavior because this is more fulfilling and provides a sense of self-satisfaction.  

Even if I stay informed with the latest technology tools and am prepared to use them in my lesson plans; if I do not have access to them then I will have to make the best with what I am given.  It will be important for me to be creative so that the students will benefit from what is available to them in the classroom.  While doing observations, most of the elementary classrooms I visited only had 4 or 5 computers.  The idea of centers helps the teacher so that she has more time to spend with the students and can address the different learning styles plus the students get equal time on the computers which can enhance whatever lesson was taught for that day. 

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Digital Badge K

I like the idea of receiving information alerts and RSS feeds as described on page 135 in the textbook.  After reading how busy first year teachers are in the beginning of this chapter, these tools will be very helpful.  I just created two alerts in Google to see how it works.  The first alerts I chose was 21st century technologies for the classroom and the second alert I created was tips to help teachers stay organized.  I know I have a lot of work ahead of me before becoming a teacher so I want to start now learning all I can to help me be prepared for my first classroom.  I am sure as I go along I may think of other alerts to create or change, but I feel this is a good place to start. 

I also like the idea of using www.portaportal.com to manage websites for students to use in the classroom.  This way you are sure students will be more apt to read and learn from the content you decide is appropriate and relevant to the subject being taught.  I have already created a portaportal account of my own and set up a few categories so I can start adding relevant links as I find them.  This website could also be used to organize web resources that are tied to Florida standards as discussed on page 138.  The only thing I don’t like are the ads that are constantly displayed, but those can be deleted if you are willing to upgrade to a paid account.  While researching online I found a good example of a 4th grade teacher that is using portaportal.com for her students. I like how the content is organized which makes it easy for students to quickly find just what they are looking for. 

I am beginning to see more and more how technology certainly does enhance education.  There are so many possibilities that teachers can use to create a great learning environment.  For example, a virtual field trip is an excellent way for students to see a new place and learn about that location without leaving the classroom.  On page 141, there is quite a list of online trips that are available to visit and plenty of opportunities to go exploring and learn about other parts of the world.  

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Digital Badge J

On page 277, “The Role of Assessment in Teaching and Learning”, the author discusses the importance of new teacher assessment.  I know it will be important for me to have a support system, have an open mind for constructive criticism and be willing to learn from experienced teachers who understand what it takes to be an effective teacher.  I found this YouTube video of a 6th grade math teacher, teaching a lesson, and this YouTube video is the actual assessment and feedback after the lesson was completed.  I really enjoyed watching this teacher, she had some really good ideas that seemed to work well with the students.  This was very helpful and I now have a better understanding of what an actual assessment may entail.

Another topic of importance is Student self-assessment. On page 278, the author discusses that teachers should be continuously evaluating themselves and make improvements based on student’s needs to be a successful teacher.  This type of evaluation can be something students can do as well, to do to make learning more meaningful.  According to assessmenttolearning.edu, students who are encouraged to evaluate their learning have an increased motivation for learning, experience greater self-esteem, and they also have a better understanding of how they learn versus what they learn.  This is a useful tool for teachers because the feedback from the students gives an understanding to the teacher on how each student is performing and what she needs to do to help the learning process continue.   This link provides a list of useful tips and ideas for student self-assessment that could be used in the classroom. 

This chapter was very interesting.  I learned there are numerous things that teachers can do to increase their effectiveness as a quality teacher that students can also do to improve the learning process.  I guess a good teacher is someone who never stops learning and is willing to make changes to help their students grow and enjoy learning.  For example, the use of digital portfolios is something that is beneficial to both the students as well as the teacher.    On page 276, the author states that “building digital portfolios affected Tracy (who is the student teacher) and the students’ growth as learners.”  This is because both the students and teachers go through a process of self-reflection as they decide what should be included in their portfolio and this process involves evaluating what they have learned.  Also, by creating a digital portfolio it is incorporating what was previously learned using technology which offers reinforcement of what was previously learned.  For teachers, digital portfolios is an excellent way to show growth and that you are willing to learn from past experiences. 

My digital tool for this assignment was completed using infuselearning.com.  

Education Services Austrailia. (n.d.). Assessment for Learning.  Retrieved from http://www.assessmentforlearning.edu.au/professional_learning/modules/student_self-assessment/student_research_background.html

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Digital Badge I

On page 86 of the textbook, the section entitled New Approaches to Assessment talks about how “tests are driving the curriculum instead of the curriculum driving the tests.  While completing some observations in a math class at one of the local middle schools, the teacher was teaching to the FCAT test.  There were several occasions where she actually said these types of problems will be on the test and they will try to trick you.  There has to be a better way of teaching math to these students.  With this type of environment, the students probably will not remember what was taught after the test because it was not delivered in a memorable and engaging manner.  Because each student learns in a different way and has different levels of knowledge, it is the teacher’s responsibility to assess the students prior to preparing and delivering a lesson based on each of the students’ needs.  If students are taught based on their needs and engage students with the use of technology they will know the material that will be given on the tests. 

How can teachers evaluate and assess students’ learning?  It is very important to determine what the students know prior to developing a lesson and after a lesson has been presented.   On page 77 of the textbook there are numerous examples that a teacher can use to test for student knowledge.  I did not understand what and how a digital portfolio could be used to test for knowledge.  According to edutopia.org a digital portfolio can be used to store and display a student’s work and is a place for a teacher to assess and offer feedback.  eBackpack is one example of a website that allows for students and teachers to create and maintain their own digital portfolio. 

On page 76 of the textbook, a teacher’s lesson design and development refers to knowing and understand what and how to teach a particular academic subject and then assessing what the students have learned from that lesson.  According to Stiliana Milkova with the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, there are six steps to follow to create a lesson plan:  1) outline learning objectives and determine what you want the students to learn.   2)  Develop an introduction that will grab the students’ attention and if necessary find out what the students already know about the topic.  3) Plan learning activities to help the students understand what is being taught.  This may include real-life examples, visuals, some form of technology could be integrated to reinforce the lesson. 4) Check for students’ understanding with some sort of activity or by asking questions that allows you to see what the students learned from the lesson. 5)  Develop a conclusion by going over the main points of the lesson and explain what they learned will prepare them for the next lesson.  6) Create a realistic timeline by calculating how much time you think is needed to cover each point of the lesson.  Sometimes teachers have to deviate from their prepared lesson due to a students’ needs. 

The digital tool I created this week was done using Padlet. 

Hertz, Mary Beth. (2013, May 20). Using E-Portfolios in the Classroom.  Retrieved from http://www.edutopia.org/blog/e-portfolios-in-the-classroom-mary-beth-hertz.

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Milkova, Stiliana. (2014). Strategies for Effective Lesson Planning.  Retrieved from http://www.crlt.umich.edu/gsis/p2_5   

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Digital Badge H

I had never heard of Multimodal learning prior to reading this chapter.  According to David Lazear, at davidlazeargroup.com “the more different ways you learn something the more you will really learn it, remember it and understand it.”  For the most part, schools do not teach in all the different ways students really learn making it more difficult for some students to grasp the information.  Multimodal learning is a combination of “spoken words, visuals, written text, audio and models or some other type of simulations.” (Maloy, 217).  An example of this could be a list of spelling words spoken orally by the teacher and displayed on the smart board.  They could be turned in to a poem, the poems then could be written out and posted in the classroom as well as recorded digitally and uploaded to the classroom website.   

I like the idea of using images to generate class discussion.  In my humanities class last semester, we would look at a piece of artwork and discuss orally what each thought about the piece.  It was very interesting and I enjoyed listening to what each student’s interpretation was.  From Tefl.net there are an endless list of questions that a teacher could ask about an image.  This promotes whole group discussion and gives opportunities for all students to participate in the discussion.  This could be a picture from a book the class is reading together or a picture related to a history assignment. 

On page 230 of the textbook, the author states that making alphabet books is a good way for all younger students to learn letter-sound association, what types of nouns should be capitalized and the correct way to use apostrophe’s.  This would also be helpful for ELL students.  According, to Jennifer Atkinson on Scholastic.com a first grade teacher in Texas, she recommends doing this activity because it is an enjoyable learning experience for the students.  With the student’s photograph’s in the book, it becomes more meaningful and memorable; they also enjoy making the books.  The photos could also be displayed in the classroom or on a classroom website.   

 Atkinson, Jennifer. (2014). Creating Class Made ABC Books. Retrieved from http://blogs.scholastic.com/1_2/2009/04/creating-class-made-abc-books.html

Case, Alex. (1998-2014). Discussion questions using images. Retrieved from http://edition.tefl.net/ideas/speak/discussion-questions-images/

Lazear, David. (2003-2008). A Different Kind of Smart! A Different Kind of Learning. Retrieved from http://www.davidlazeargroup.com/free_articles/multi-modal.html

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Digital Badge G

According to the School District of LeeCounty website, Lee County schools has students in regular attendance from 159 different countries and speak approximately 124 different languages. Because of this vast amount of students from different countries it is important for teachers to understand and about the different cultures that may be present in her classroom.  Students also need to know that the teacher has respect for their differences.  On page 246 of the textbook it explains how students benefit when their school assignments somehow connect with issues and concerns that they may be experiencing in their own lives.  Teachers need to understand each of their students’ background and culture so she can better reach them when teaching lessons.  Lessons can be taught that are inclusive of the different cultures so learning becomes more meaningful to these students.

With the use of an interactive whiteboard teachers have many more opportunities to transform lessons to meet the different needs of students.  On page 251 of the textbook, it explains how even students who have difficulty learning respond to the whiteboard as it provides visual, auditory and hands-on learning activities.  According to neamd.com, research shows that students learn better with hands-on activities.  Interactive whiteboards offer so many possibilities because it is combing two types of technologies into one.  After teaching a geography lesson a teacher can open GoogleEarth on her computer and display the appropriate map on the interactive whiteboard to reinforce a geography lesson.   Or students can solve math problems on the whiteboard using dry erase markers and get feedback from other students as well as the teacher.  With the use of clickers, students can respond to questions raised by the teacher and instantly see how the class did as a whole. 

With the use of word clouds, there are some different possibilities to help students and teachers in the classroom.  Word clouds can be used to find the main idea in a particular reading assignment; this may be helpful for those students who have difficulty with reading comprehension.  With the use of these online tools, students can also get creative by playing with different fonts, colors and arrangement of the words.  Teachers can use word clouds to display a learning objective or goal, classroom rules or student’s names in the class.  It can also be used to display the week’s spelling or vocabulary words.   I used abcya.com to create the word cloud below from this paragraph.

For my digital tool this week I used Flip Quiz.  Here is the link to a Flip Quiz that I created.

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Nea Member Benefits. (2014). Interactive Whiteboards Enhance Classroom Instruction and Learning. Retrieved from http://www.neamb.com/professional-resources/benefits-of-interactive-whiteboards.htm.

The School District of Lee County. (2013 November). Interesting District Factoids. Retrieved from http://www.leeschools.net/about/factoids.htm.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Digital Badge F

As a teacher, I can see myself using emails and maintaining a classroom website.  Emails can be an effective and easy tool to use to communicate with parents and students.  It can inform parents of upcoming conferences or important assignments which they might have not been aware.  As my kids were going to school, notes that were supposed to have been brought home sometimes seemed to have disappeared.  A classroom website is important to continue the learning process when the kids are at home.  But how do you make a classroom website interesting so it will engage the kids and inform the parents?  According to Scholastic.com, the website Weebly for education is simple and easy to use, and allows teachers to create an impressive classroom website.   There is so much useful information that could be included for both students and parents.  The website could include spelling words, information on where to find research material for an upcoming history project as well as supplies that are needed or a place for students to show off their hard work to their parents and other students.  The possibilities are endless.  I believe the main reasons for having and maintaining a website is to reemphasize what was taught in class each day, to keep the learning process going even after the school day has ended and to keep the parents up to date and involved in their children’s education.  

On page 191, the textbook explains how important it is to keep the students engaged academically.  But many students often times get bored or just do not understand because they learn differently than how the lesson is being taught.  As I am working my way through college, I have found that after listening to a lecture, it is helpful to review the power points that have been posted on Canvas along with my notes to recall important information or to rethink a particular idea.  In this article, Big Thinkers: Howard Gardner on Multiple Intelligences, Howard Gardner explains how technology allows students the opportunity to learn in his or her own way and “if the technology is interactive, the child will actually be able to show his or her understanding of the material.”  This can be done with questions that require the student to give an in-depth response about a particular topic.      

From page 212 in the textbook, book reports can be a boring and dreaded activity for students.  But with the use of technology, there are ways teachers can bring book reports back to life.  Each student could have their own blog, which is a good opportunity to allow students to be creative with choosing background color and design.  Their blogs become the place for writing out their book reports with each new post.  The students could also draw a picture to illustrate a favorite part of the book and add it to their blog.  Written feedback from other students would also be encouraging as this makes writing more important and meaningful.      

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Digital Badge E

It was very interesting to read about Rosie on page 158; the student who did not enjoy math until she was introduced to 4MALITY.   I was curious, so I found the 4MALITY website and created a login.  There are different sets of problems that range from place values to understanding decimals.  It is very easy to follow and would be a great tool to incorporate into the classroom.  Solving word problems can be difficult for some students.  Tools like this can help make sure students understand and grasp what the problems are asking them to do. It is important to set a good foundation while the students are young.  As they get into middle and high school math, they will be more prepared to tackle those more difficult math courses. 

I do not remember teachers teaching me when I was in school how to take research material and rewriting it so it is in my own words.  I personally did not do well in this area in school, but it is so important that students learn early on how to acquire this skill.   On page 168 of the textbook, I learned about a website called Read/Write/Think that helps students organize and write a persuasive essay.  And since this chapter explains how gaming can be used in the classroom, there are plenty of educational games that could be incorporated with a lesson plan.  One example is this ABC Match game which is geared for Kindergarten through 2nd grade; it helps students with letter recognition and memory. 

On page 169 the textbook explains how gamification is used in education as well as in the business world.  I did not realize when I sign up for a store reward card that it was something called gamification.  But like the textbook explains too much gaming or gamification can have negative outcomes.  For businesses, their rewards are points on future purchases to keep you coming back which causes you to spend more money.  For students, the rewards may become more important than actually learning the material.  I can see how it can be beneficial but there may also be a down side.  There is an interesting article on Edutopia with a link to a TedTalk video which explains how using real world situations in a game setting can motivate students to learn. 

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Digital Badge D

This chapter offers a lot of information on where to find valuable educational websites for students and teachers.   I did not realize the vast amount of web sites that offer students the option of taking notes to search engines that are geared towards age appropriate resources.  As the textbook says the search engine does not know who is searching or how old the person is.  It is more beneficial and involves less time to allow the students to use those search engines that are geared towards content that is related to the topic they are researching.  For example, the Smithsonian Education website is a great tool for the classroom and offers teaching opportunities from art to history.  I enjoyed exploring this website and saved this one on my Delicious account for future use. 

Another topic the textbook covered was bullying and cyberbullying.  This one is a biggie for me.  I feel students should start learning empathy as soon as they begin school in kindergarten.  They need to learn how to put themselves in another person’s shoes and realize that everybody is different and that it is alright if the person sitting next to them wears glasses or has different clothes.  It is such a tragedy to hear news stories of young kids that have taken their own life because of bullying.  I believe getting students involved in the community is a great way to teach this.  The website goodcharacter.com has some very good examples of how to get students as young as kindergarten involved in bullying prevention.

I was shocked at the number of students who admitted to cheating. The textbook says “one is four and one in six high school students admit to cheating” (Maloy, 119).  According to mprnews.org students learn how to cheat while they are still in elementary school.  The article Combat Cheating in Elementary School explains that when children are encouraged to work together in groups in first and second grade; then when asked to work by themselves it can be overwhelming and they feel pressure to have the right answers so they begin to cheat by copying answers.  Students need to be taught early on that cheating is wrong and there are consequences if they are found cheating. I feel to combat cheating it starts by teaching them integrity and to have a sense of pride and accomplishment for their own work.    

MPR News (2013, June 25).  Combat Cheating in Elementary School. Retrieved from http://www.mprnews.org/story/2013/06/25/daily-circuit-elementary-school-cheating

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Digital Badge C

As I was reading on page 46 of this chapter the teacher was asked by a concerned parent “Why are you emphasizing so much technology in your teaching?”  I am sure all teachers at some point in their career face parents that probably feel this way and will need to be prepared with a knowledgeable response.  Thinking about this scenario, a teacher has a tremendous responsibility to not only his or her students but to the community.   They have to be prepared to not only teach the day’s lessons with enthusiasm and creativity but they also have to be ready to give appropriate responses to whatever questions come their way.  Even with this much responsibility, I believe some people are just born to be teachers, it is something they desire to be; it comes from within. 

This chapter offers a lot of information to be ready to address those questions.  With proper use, technologies in the classroom can “generate unique, powerful and transformative learning experiences.”  Children these days are being raised on technology and seem to have something built in them to understand how it works.  So when technology is combined with subjects like math, history, science and language arts and even music and art; students will be more likely to understand and enjoying learning.  On page 54 and 55 of the textbook, Montessori believed that learning should include a self-correcting feedback that teaches in a nonjudgmental way.   Computer games that students can play in the classroom that offer instant feedback would be beneficial in the classroom.  This is true for me while I was completing my math courses.  The homework was done on the computer and sometimes I would struggle to figure out the answers; the instant feedback of the program allowed me to rework the problem and then further understand how to correctly solve the problem.  So I completely understand this concept.  It is not giving feedback in a negative or judgmental way which can make a student feel embarrassed.  

When I was in school, teaching was done in a teacher-centered approach.  The students sat in rows of desks and the teacher stood in the front of the class and taught at the chalkboard.  I think this approach is still necessary to some extent to teach specific concepts.  But I believe the classroom should be arranged so that the room feels open to all student and there is no one sitting in the back not paying attention.  I believe students should be active in the classroom, working with hands-on activities and in groups to come up with solutions to real world problems using critical thinking.  The Importance ofCritical Thinking on Bright Hub Education explains that without critical thinking skills we cannot process information logically.   It is important for students to develop good critical thinking skills to be able to think independently and solve problems not only in school but in their daily lives outside of school. 

Banerjee, Ranee Kaur. (2012, August 10). The Importance of Critical Thinking. Retrieved from http://www.brighthubeducation.com/teaching-methods-tips/97818-the-importance-of-critical-thinking/ 

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Copy of 21st Century Technologies - Created with Haiku Deck, presentation software that inspires

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Digital Badge B

1     All of these technology tools can be overwhelming and a little intimidating.  Prior to this class I had never even heard of Web 2.0 tools.  On page 24 of the textbook, there is quite a long list, many of which I am already familiar with; but had no idea they were called Web 2.0 tools.  Now that I already know what a few of these are and how to use them; perhaps it will be easier now to continuing learning about other tools and how to integrate some of these into the classroom.  This website Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools is loaded with an abundance of tools that are available to teachers. 

Web 2.0 Tools

       On page 34 of the textbook, the section titled Critics of Technology in Schools.  It seems difficult to know exactly how much technology time students should spend in the classroom.  I have read with the use of technology it helps to develop creativity but according to this section of reading, too much “right-and-wrong-answer computer games limits the development of children’s creativity.”  So what’s the right answer?  How much is too much?  This article from TechNewsWorld.com is very interesting and says that technology leads to improved reading skills.  But on the other hand too much technology can make a child feel ”anxious, restless, bored and aggressive” (LeClaire, 2006).   I guess it is once again a balance, knowing what the limits are and setting strict guidelines.

Students these days are definitely digital natives as explained on page 38 in the textbook.  As I stated in my previous post, they can just pick up any kind of electronic device and figure out how it works.  And those digital immigrants who require the owner’s manual struggle to even understand how to turn the machine on.  This particular section further explains that these students who were brought up using technology are more likely to learn from “electronic and computer environments.  So it is up to the schools and the teachers to provide the technology that these students need to succeed. 

LeClaire, Jennifer. (2006, September 6).  Kids and Tech: How Much Is Too Much?  Retrieved from http://www.technewsworld.com/story/52677.html

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Digital Badge A

1)       As I read through this chapter it was very interesting to learn how many young children under the age of 5 use electronic toys and computers for learning.  It is fascinating to see a young child pick up a cell phone and be able to figure it all out.  They just seem to have the knack for understanding how technology works. I have a smart phone that is almost a year old, I am still trying to learn how to use all the features the phone has to offer.   But sometimes I feel children rely too heavily on video games, TV, computer and cell phones for their entertainment.  They don’t know how to entertain themselves and often get “bored” if these electronic devices are taken away.  Children should be encouraged to pick up a book to read or participate in some form of physical activity for their well-being.  This class is all about technology, but I feel strongly about how much time children spend indoors on their electronic devices, which can lead to childhood obesity and/or video game addictions.  There needs to be a balance!  I saw a story just this week on the NBC nightly news that offers tech savvy kids an opportunity to build things with their own hands.   Program Encourages Kids to Build, Play the Old-Fashioned Way
2)      But, because children are fascinated with technology it can be an effective tool in the classroom when combined with the content the teacher needs to convey to his or her students.  This can help make learning fun which will keep children interested in learning.  There are many “Inside-the-classroom instructional tools” that are listed on page 7 of our textbook. Many educational websites offer videos or games which could be used to accompany a lesson.  For example, the website ScienceKids has some interesting videos that could be used to reemphasize a science lesson.  This same website offers games and other activities that a teacher could use in the classroom as well.   Another tool I found interesting, a student participation system.  I would have to say this tool is definitely one to be used in a 21st century classroom.  This tool allows all students in the classroom the opportunity to participate together, by using their clickers to answer questions the teacher poses.  It allows the teacher to immediately see whether the students understands the material or whether to go over the lesson again.  Often times there are children who did not quite understand a concept but was too shy or embarrassed to ask a question so they fall behind and can get frustrated.  According to the FCC.gov website, “technology-based instruction can reduce the time students take to reach a learning objective by 30 to 80 percent.”   
3)      The textbook it explains “family income dramatically affects technology use” (Maloy, Verock-O'Loughli, Edwards & Woolf, 2013, p.5)  So this is a concern for those students who come from low-income families whose parents cannot afford to own a computer or be connected to the internet.  To keep up with assignments and maintain good grades, accessing classroom websites and homework assignments online is very important.  Teachers also need to maintain communication with the parents so the parent can be sure their child is doing well in school.  While doing some research on this topic, I stumbled upon a program on the FCC.gov website called Connect to Compete, which provides low cost broadband of $9.95 per month and refurbished devices that cost $150 plus free training to students who are eligible for free and reduced lunches.  It will be important to be sure these students and parents are made aware of these opportunities so their children can be successful.  
In conclusion, there is a broad range of technology based tools teachers can bring to the classroom.   Because I did not have the luxury of growing up with technology, I sometimes feel overwhelmed.  It is going to be important for me to keep up with all the latest and greatest tools that may be available to teachers and students.   Learning is a never ending process, there is always something new, no matter how old you are.  As the students are learning from me I will also be learning from them how to be a better teacher.   But I am confident that once I complete this course I will have the knowledge that is needed to know how to be a 21st century teacher and incorporate technology in the classroom.    

Federal Communications Commission (2012). Fact Sheet, Digital Playbook Textbook. Retrieved from Federal Communication Commission Website: http://www.fcc.gov/document/fact-sheet-digital-textbook-playbook.
Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Valdes, Natalie (2014, August 28).  Program Encourages Kids to Play, the Old Fashioned Way [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/nightly-news/program-encourages-kids-build-play-old-fashioned-way-n191431


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Focus Question – How does technology provide feedback to support learning?  According to the textbook “feedback lets you know when you are proceeding in a positive direction and when you are moving off track” (p. 49) I chose to answer this question because I am taking all online classes this semester and I am relying not only on my textbook to help me learn the material, but I am also relying on technology to help me understand what I am learning.  For example, in my history class, after I read each chapter there is an online multiple choice quiz that is available.  It doesn’t count towards your grade but it allows you to instantly know if you got the answer correct.  If you missed the question, it shows you the correct answer and helps you to better understand the information.  And this is what our textbook says “Information technologies offer teachers and students an essential element of successful learning-rapid (often nearly instantaneous), self-correcting feedback about their efforts.”  When I was in school we weren’t allowed to use calculators in any of my math classes.  It is important for students to know how to work out math problems without a calculator, but now I see how calculators can be beneficial.  It allows the student to check their work for the correct answer.    
Connections and Possibilities – High Tech High It is interesting to learn how successful this charter school has become since opening their first school in 2000.  Their constructivist approach to learning began as one high school and has grown to twelve other schools; three elementary, four middle and five high schools.  It is impressive that every graduate has gone on to college.  The goal at each of their schools is as follows: 

·         Serve a student body that mirrors the ethnic and socioeconomic diversity of the local community.
·         Integrate technical and academic education to prepare students for post-secondary education in both high tech and liberal arts fields.
·         Increase the number of educationally disadvantaged students in math and engineering who succeed in high school and post-secondary education.
·         Graduate students who will be thoughtful, engaged citizens.

The constructivism theory in education “is a learning process of manipulating and interpreting the surrounding world in a unique way for each individual” (p. 34).  High Tech High offers a project-based learning environment at all grade levels, even in Kindergarten.  With this type of learning environment, students are learning in a hands-on technology based environment.  This prepares students to thrive and be more successful in the real world.  This Transformed by Technology video shows high school students from High Tech High using technology for solutions to real-life community based projects. I was really impressed by the way they personalize learning for each student.  Students work with an advisor on “long term goals and short-term performance” and students create “personal digital portfolios to document the year’s learning” (p. 35).
Summary – This chapter was very interesting and I learned a lot about how technology can be used to enhance learning.  It isn’t just about giving students’ access to a computer in the classroom.  I especially found it important to allow students to be creative.  According to our textbook:
“Expressing one’s ideas creatively is a highly valued talent in virtually every field from the artistic to the commercial.  ….creativity is an increasingly important but not easy to find, talent among today’s workers” (p. 51). 
I believe that all students have a talent of some sort, while there seems to be other students who are multi-talented.  Therefore, all students need to be given opportunities to express themselves whether it be by playing an instrument, drawing, writing, playing sports, etc.  With the use of technology it can enable students to take their talents to the next level.  For example, Poetry Writing with Jack Prelutsky is a website that teaches students how to write a poem and post it on the website.  When I was in elementary school I was never very creative when it came to writing poems.  This website could be very helpful for students who have the same difficulty and it gives opportunities for students to use technology in the classroom. 

Edutopia.org. (2010, June 4). Transformed by Technology. (Video) Retrieved from http://howtovideos.hightechhigh.org/video/206/Transformed+by+Technology

High Tech High. (2014, January). High Tech High Goals. Retrieved from http://www.hightechhigh.org/about/

Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Focus Question - What constitutes a highly interactive inquiry-based learning environment?  Whatever the lesson or project the teacher has to teach, the teacher could use various technologies to make the lesson more interesting and memorable for the students.  According to our textbook:

Accessing the Web for class discussion, utilizing computers to show presentations or simulations having students use handheld and wireless devices as part of group projects, and integrating different technologies into various in-class academic assignments or activities (p 11).

For example, Google earth could be incorporated into a geography lesson and students could be involved by allowing them to use the website to create maps with pictures and labels.  It not only teaches the students about geography but it teaches them how to use technology to create something memorable.  For classroom projects or assignments that require outside information, students could use their smart phones, laptops or classroom computers to search the internet or a trusted online database for reliable sources of information.

Tech Tool - Online Resources for Learning about Technology - I am happy to know there will be resources available to help me keep up to date with technologies that may be available to use in the classroom. I especially found the website "How Stuff Works" interesting.  Also, there are a lot of useful articles and videos that could be integrated into the classroom under careful monitoring and restrictions, due to the many advertisements and questionable topics.  For example, I found numerous interesting videos on the website, all entitled "Stuff to Blow Your Mind", that are all related to science that could be used along with science lessons in the classroom.  
Summary – Because of the significant amount of people, including young children, who own some kind of electronic device and are using them in their daily lives, it only makes sense to incorporate these technologies in the classroom as well.  I came across this interesting Ted Talk video entitled "Sugata Mitra: The Child Driven Education", it shows when children are exposed to the wide variety of information on the computer, it can be an essential tool in the classroom.  As a teacher, I want to make learning fun and interesting for my students.  Students learn more and stay involved if they are not bored with the subject or lesson.  My only concern is when technology fails, as I observed last semester in a 4th grade class.  Even though the teacher improvised, the outcome of the lesson was much different because the students did not get to view the video that went along with the history lesson that she taught that day.  I don’t know if I have a set teaching philosophy in mind because I feel both the Teacher-centered and Student-centered can be integrated into the classroom.  I think it’s important for students to learn how to work together with other students, they sometimes learn more this way but there also is a need for a teacher to teach a lesson and give a test.  This allows the teacher to evaluate the class and see if a student needs help in a particular area.   


Maloy, Robert W, Verock-O’Loughlin, Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2013). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. 2nd Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education

TedGlobal 2010, (2010) Sugata Mitra: The Child Driven Education (Video). Retrieved from http://www.ted.com/talks/sugata_mitra_the_child_driven_education.html