Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Reflective Post

An overview of "EME 2040 Introduction to Technology for Educators"

                                                           Photo credit to: Max Anderson

Before getting started I’d like to share with you that I am an education major at Edison State College, and I plan on becoming an elementary school teacher. As an education major, there are three courses that I am required to take and pass before enrolling in the Elementary Education Program. One of these courses is called "Introduction to Technology for Educators". I must admit I wasn’t exactly thrilled to take this class. I’ve never been a big fan of technology. However, my thoughts on the course and on technology entirely changed little time after the beginning of this class.

Activities & Assignments:

                                                                       Photo credit to: Anthony Albright

Website Evaluation, Critique, and rubric-


For this assignment we were asked to create our own rubric, which we may use to critique the value of a website. Weather it is trustworthy, accurate, up to date, etc. We then got to pick an educational website such as the edutopia website, and critique is using the rubric we created. This was a great assignment, as it allowed for the students to really ponder on what a good website should contain. There are many things out in the internet these days, and it is important to be able to pick out the reliable sites from the inaccurate ones.  


Collaborative Lesson Plan-


During this course we worked on a collaborative lesson plan. This was the first lesson plan I ever created. I am glad I did not have to do it alone. For this assignment we got to work in a small group to create a lesson plan. My group chose to create a lesson plan for 1st grade math students. The lesson plan we developed used technology as a medium and goal of instruction. Our website evaluation assignment was helpful for this assignment as it aided us in evaluating various software and hardware tools to determine their utility in an educational setting. Another great part of this assignment is that it required us to consider technological tools that help assist students with especial or diverse needs.




The webquest was also a lesson plan, but this lesson plan was to be completed individually. It was an internet based project. Like our previous lesson plan, it was a project that used technology as a medium and goal in an educational setting. Webquest required us to create a portfolio reflecting ways technology can be used in the classroom. We learned of different websites where one can create a webquest, I used the Zunal website to create my webquest.




During this course I also created a PowerPoint. Before creating this PowerPoint, our proffesor helped guide us in the right direction, by showing us how PowerPoint's are meant to be used, which is in a way that wont put the audience to sleep.




This assignment was also a collaborative assignment. Though it was a group project, all conversation to plan for the Wiki page needed to take place online via the Wiki page. For this assignment, each group member selected an instructional strategy, and then conducted research about each strategy in order to explain how it could be used to improve both teaching and learning.


Teacher Web Page-


The teacher Web Page was perhaps my favorite assignment. We were assigned to create a personal teacher webpage e-portfolio. This webpage included our assignments completed in this course, our favorite lesson plans, a biography, not to parents, list of textbooks we would use in our classroom, educational puzzles games and websites we would encourage our students to use. Creating this webpage allowed us to exercise developing an internet based project that uses technology as a medium and goal, evaluate various software and hardware tools to determine their utility in a classroom, and create a portfolio reflecting ways technology can support classroom management, administration, and teaching in a classroom. I truly enjoyed creating my own teacher webpage.




Throughout the course we had discussion posts. These posts were on the courses page, which all the students have access to. Each student had to write a post about an assigned topic, and then comment on two other classmate’s posts. This allowed room for conversation and deeper thoughts about the topic. It was an opportunity to see other classmates thoughts on our ideas, and also to explore others peoples ideas. It provided the students with a more interactive experience.

The following are the discussions covered in this course and their learning outcomes based on the course syllabus:

Legal and Ethical Issues-
Learning outcome: The student will evaluate and critique legal and ethical issues for using technology in the K-12 classroom.
Educational Technology Best Practices/Resources-
Learning outcome: The students will analyze and summarize the features of a selection of applicable websites providing test data from national, state and local education resources.
    Assistive /Adaptive Technology for Students-
    Learning outcome: The student will analyze and evaluate a selection of technological tools for assisting students with special and/ or diverse needs, and link the technology to specific outcomes for these students.
      Technology Assisting ELL Students- 
      Learning outcome: The students will analyze and evaluate a selection of technological tools for assisting students who are English Language Learners, and link the technology to strategies for teaching these students.


      Textbook: "Transforming Learning with New Technologies"


                                                  Photo credit to: Zaveqna

      I found the textbook used in this course to be very useful. It was clear in clarifying its concepts and focused on explaining how technology can be useful for both students and educators. The textbook included visuals such as pictures, graphs, and charts. Every chapter also included “Tech Tools”. These tech tools consisted of mostly websites that related to areas of technology that the chapter covered. Another helpful tool was that at the beginning of each chapter there were focus questions. The focus questions were a great way to pin point what the main ideas of the chapter would be. They also help prepare the reader before reading the chapter in order to make sure they catch key points. Overall the book was very well organized, clear, informative, and easy to navigate through. 

      Suggestions & Feedback: 

      I've thought long and hard on what I would do to improve this course. To be perfectly honest I'm not sure I could think of anything to improve it. Looking back into the beginning of this course there are so many things I can do now that I did not know how to do then. It is clear to see that the professor took time to plan each assignment and did so in the correct order. We used what we learned at the beginning of the course to create our more advanced assignments towards the end of the course. My only critique would be that the class was very long. It would be nice if the school offered this class twice a week in order to cut the 2 hour and 40 minute long class in half. Many students struggle to stay focused for the entire time, I am one of those students. I feel that If our class would have met twice a week for a shorter time, I could have gotten even more out of the class. Overall, it was a enjoyable that is worth taking. I encourage and recommend anyone going into an education field to take this class. Even those who may not be interested in education, but would like to increase their knowledge in technology would benefit from taking this class.

      Monday, November 11, 2013

      Journal Post 11

      Focus Question: How can teachers use student participation systems as effective assessment methods?
                                                        Photo credit to: Universidad de Navarra
                  Teachers can use student participation as effective assessment methods in several ways. For those who do not know what student participation systems are, another way to describe them is as classroom response systems, or personal response systems. These systems are handheld wireless tools that ease interactive learning options for both teachers and students. They are often referred to as clickers, normally the size of a small remote control, they have multiple buttons and can be used by the students to answer questions in the form of multiple choice, true or false, yes or no, numeric answer, and short answer. There are many reasons why student participation systems are becoming more and more popular. To begin with, they encourage active learning in classrooms. While teachers lead discussions, they can stop and post discussion question on the boards, and students can actively participate in the lesson by answering these questions. Another reason clickers are so successful in a classroom environment is that it facilitates student involvement. Students who may not normally participate in class because they are shy or embarrassed of giving the wrong answer. Teachers who use these assessment methods also get immediate feedback of their student’s knowledge on the particulate subject, due to the answers given. I believe this is a great tool for teachers to use. In my opinion the key to academic success lies in student engagement. Students are likely to pay attention during lessons and discussion if they know they are going to have to answer questions during this time. Students are also likely to participate without shying away. This allows the teacher to gain knowledge on which students understand the lesson, and which students do not.

      Tech Tools: EduTools

                                                       Photo credit to: SCASL AASL Affiliate
                  EduTools is a website sponsored by the Western Cooperative for Educational Telecommunications. This website is used to provide reviews, consultations, and comparisons for teachers and other educators interested in using e-learning tools. The website also provides reviews of online college, advanced placement, and high school courses. Some e-portfolios that have been evaluated on EduTools include ANGEL e-portfolio, BB e-portfolio, e-folio, LiveText, and TaskStream. EduTools is a great site especially for teachers, it is very helpful for teachers to have a reliable site where they can go to get an evaluation of a site or tool they are looking into making a part of their lessons and planning.

      Summary: Chapter 11

                                                                Photo credit to: timlewisnm
                This chapter focuses on engaging teachers and students in learning and self-reflection. The chapter first introduces ways in which teachers can evaluate students. Some of these ways include norm-referenced tests, criterion-referenced tests, standardized-based assessments, and performance-based assessments. However, students are not the only ones being evaluated, teachers are also evaluated. Another interesting topic that was discussed in this chapter was the use of digital portfolios for teacher. Teachers can create a digital portfolio of a collection of their work, as well as what the individual teacher know and is able to teach in a classroom. Online survey tools were also discussed in the chapter. These tools are often used to involve students in the decision of how material will be taught in the classroom. Lastlty, student participation systems were discussed. This was my favorite part of the chapter. I have used these wireless tools as a student in a classroom before, and I saw how it engaged students including myself, it encouraged us to actively participate in the classroom.

      Tuesday, November 5, 2013

      Journal Post 10

      Focus Question:  What are differentiated instruction (DI) and universal design for learning (UDL)?

                  Differentiated instruction and universal design for learning are frameworks that aid teachers in adjusting their curriculum to a more personalized way to meet each individual students needs. DI and UDL are often used in designing ways to meet the needs of students with special needs, gifted students, and English language learners. These techniques are designed to benefit every student by activating his or her unique potential. A common technique used in DI is grouping students based on students have similar learning styles. For example, one group will work with the teacher, another on computers, and the last one on a more hands on group exercise. At the end of the class, students from each different group will share what they learned with the rest of the class. This seems like a good way to achieve academic success. However my only concern would be that in life things will not always be presented in the way that the particular student learns best, and therefore it is important that each student practices different learning methods to aid in developing a better understanding of lessons presented in different styles. UDL encourages full participation and access for students with disabilities while also providing options for all other students. The main goal of UDL is to create teaching situation that benefit the widest range of students. Fore example, a teacher may go over vocab words aloud, and also have them on a PowerPoint behind her, so that a student with hearing disabilities can read the vocabulary words and definitions. Students who do not have hearing disabilities may also benefit from a PowerPoint, such as visual learners.

      Tech Tool: Jim Martindale’s Calculators On-line Center

                                                          Photo credit to: Jake and Lisa Sherbert
      The Jim Martindale’s Calculators On-line Center is a tech tool focused on middle and high school students. This website provides links to more than 22,00 calculation programs. These calculators usage range from regular calculators used for middle school math courses, to advanced high school math, and even to calculating the speed of a dinosaur or the capacities of an iPod. The layout and background of the website makes it clear that it is meant for older students. It is plain and not very colorful. It is an easy website to navigate. The calculators are organized in columns based on the subject they are useful for.

      Summary: Chapter 10- Promoting Success for All Students through Technology

                                                        Photo credit to: Massachusetts Education
      This chapter discusses ways in which educators can aid students into achieving academic success through using technology. The chapter begins by describing differentiated instruction and universal design for learning. These two ideas support that students benefit from a varied range of educational experiences that can target his or her own specific learning styles and talents. Next, universally designed classrooms are discussed. This involves changing the way the curriculum is enforced. The chapter discusses the ways in which assistive technologies can help the teacher reach every student’s academic needs. I strongly agree with everything this chapter has discussed. It is important that we consider every students needs. As long as the curriculum is being met, it is okay to experiment different ways of teaching in order to ensure that every student is being taught to his or her best advantage. 

      Sunday, October 27, 2013

      Journal Post 9

      Focus question: How can teachers integrate podcasts and vodcasts into their teaching?

                  To begin with Podcast is a term that comes from the words iPod and broadcast. Podcasts are audio recordings that are distributed online and accessible by the use of computers or portable media players. Some of this recordings include videos as well, in which case they are referred to as vodcasts.  The most common way to access podcasts and vodcasts are through iPods, which have been used by students for a long time, mainly for their own entertainment, to listen to their favorite music, and watch their favorite videos and shows. Now there is a whole new way of using iPods, the educational way. Students can use iPods to record lectures in class, as well as review and study lectures outside of class. IPods however, are not the only way to access podcast and vodcasts, any internet-accessible computer can be used for this. Teachers can use these tools to get the students attention, and use a different approach in teaching, which tends to excite the students. Teachers can record their own podcast and post them online for the students to access and review. They may also give research assignment where students can gather information from podcasts and vodcasts from news organizers such as PBS and New York Times. In conclusion, these two tools are easily accessible, and there are many ways in which a teacher can integrate them into the classroom.

                                                                Photo Credit to Oliver Lavely
      Tech Tool:  Digital art making- NGA Kids: The art zone

                  This tech tool is sponsored by The National Gallery of Art. It is an interactive site for young artist. Kids are able to access this site and create their own projects. In their art pieces they are able to use different colors, texture, and scale features. As you enter this site you are able to see the artwork created by the kids to use this site. Then you are able to choose which type of project you’d like to work on. Under the pictures there is a description explaining what each art project is about. The website has a black background but the letters are colorful and fun, which makes it artistic and kid-friendly.

      Summary: Chapter 9
      This chapter is titled “Creating and Sharing Information with Multimedia Technologies.” It begins by explaining multimedia technology and the ways it can be used teachers to share and create information. It then discusses PowerPoint and effective ways to use it, and make it an educational yet fun experience for the students. It discusses ways in which PowerPoint it criticized, such as for over-summarizing complex material. It is stressed that teachers who use PowerPoint, use it involving active participation as well as acknowledging the audience and what information is crucial that they remember. Using videos in teaching can be a similar experience to PowerPoint, in that it is also helpful to use interaction during or at least after the video, in order to be assured that the students are capturing the crucial information. Later, movie making is discussed. This is a fun activity and it is also very interactive for the students. Lastly, podcasts and vodcasts are discussed. These are audio and video recordings found online. Which are commonly accessed through iPods or computers. Students may choose to record classroom lectures, do research, or study using these tools. 

                                                               Photo Credit to Paul Hudson

      Thursday, October 17, 2013

      Journal Post 8

      Focus question: How can teachers use email or instant messaging to foster information exchanges with and among students?

      Email and instant messaging facilitates communication outside of the classroom in a big way. It is important however, that teachers follow certain guidelines when using these tools. For example using a password-protected student communication system to email and Instant message. This will restrict who can access your communication, and also protect you and your students from viruses, spam, predatory individuals, and political extremist. Teacher can establish email connections to libraries, museums and universities. This is helpful, because a teacher can ask for information on a particular subject and also use it in their lesson planning. Teachers and student can initiate email correspondence with elected officials and other public policy makers. Having this type of email connections, teachers and even students can make their voices heard if they ever have a request or opinion to share. Teacher may also hold online office hours, when they respond to any questions a student may have. This is great for students, because when they are home they don’t have their teacher available to share any questions or concerns, but with email or instant message, they can ask a teacher or fellow classmates for guidance.

                                                           Photo credit to Br3nda

      Tech tool:

                  Blogger is a great tool for both teachers and students. To use blogger you need to create an account. You can then choose the layout of your choice. A title may be added. Once these steps and complete you can begin your blog. Information can be added, and also re-edited if necessary. Blogger allows you to embed pictures and videos into your blog. Teachers can have their own blog, with information, or guidelines to an assignment. Another way to use blogger as an educator is to have students make their own bog and update information, such as journal posts.

      Summary: Chapter 8

                  This chapter is about communicating and networking with websites, blogs, wikis, and more. The chapter begins with some ways in which a teacher can use the technology to communicate with students. Some of these include social networks, blogs, wiki pages, emails, and instant messaging. It is a great tool for teacher to post information or guidelines for assignment online, this is a place where students can go when they are not in class to find information. Most students have 24 hour access to this information, and it is impossible for them to lose the information since it is online.  Wikis can be used as collaborative learning tools, where both the teacher and students can add information. Other great aspects of technology for teachers are emails. This chapter pushes that teachers should address safety issues to protect both his or herself, and the student. 

                                                                  Photo credit to Peter Harrison