Sunday, April 28, 2013

Reflective Post

I entered this course expecting to learn some new ways to include technology into teaching. Over the course of the semester I created blog posts, evaluated a website, created a Webquest, collaborated on a lesson plan, created a wiki, an e-Portfolio, and a PowerPoint. I knew once I saw the assignment descriptions that I would not have trouble with the how-to of the assignments. I feel the majority of my generation has grown up with our lives so immersed in technology that we  know a lot, and are able to quickly figure out the things we don’t. Using technology is not what I took from this class.

What I did learn was that I had to open up my mind about how it can be used in the classroom. I had never heard of a Webquest before, and now see the possibilities it can bring to learning. I found the format to be desperately in need of an update and explored a new possibility for that. I learned how a website should be evaluated using certain guidelines, not just my own experience with them.

The book was the most frustrating part of this course for me. I found that for a book written for an education course, it must not have been written by educators. It read like long a college research essay. The language was very formal, the format bland, and the way the information was presented did not hold you attention.

What I liked best about this course was accepting that what I experienced as a student, an education where technology was viewed with suspicion and only just tolerated by the administration, is slowly changing as my generation are becoming the teachers.  We have to embrace powerful technology in order to allow children to be taught using todays tools, instead of learning tools of the past. Our goal is produce productive working members of society, and the ability to use technology is a requirement for membership in that group.

Works Cited

Maloy, Robert W.. Transforming learning with new technologies. Boston: Pearson/Allyn and Bacon, 2011. Print.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chapter 11: Engaging Students in Learning and Self-Reflection

Q: How can teachers use student participation systems as effective assessment methods?

Student participation systems are real time electronic interactions between students and teachers using remote control devices known as clickers. They are also known as student response systems. Any wireless remote device will serve as a participation system. Students will use the system to respond to questions, giving the teacher instant responses which can be displayed for the class to see as graphs and charts etc.

These systems have many advantages such as encouraging active learning, involvement, instant feedback, and question driven instruction.

Any subject area can use these systems as they allow true/false, multiple choice, and short response answers. Teachers can also make sure they use open-ended questions that can encourage discussion.

These systems will also help students with high-stakes testing as they can get used to taking tests that use multiple choice answers and learn test taking skills.

Tech Tool
SurveyMonkey is an online survey/polling tool. It has both a free and a "pro" package that requires a paid membership.

The website explains the process on its homepage as create, collect, analyze. It seems simple enough to use for basic, informal surveys in a classroom but unless a teacher plans on using SurveyMonkey on a daily basis, the pro package might not be worth it. That leaves the free package for those who only plan  on using the service sporadically. It means limited access to the features which are:

  • Up to 10 questions per survey.
  • Up to 100 responses per survey.
  • Data can be collected weblink, email, and facebook.
  • 15 question types.
  • 15 pre set themes.
  • Real time results.

   Teachers and students have performance based assessments. Teachers use them to evaluate students learning, and administrators use them to evaluate teacher performance. Performance based assessments focus on work done opposed to tests taken. Portfolios can be used to assess work done.
   Portfolios can be in physical or digital form. Digital portfolios allow for constant editing and updating, which is essential in a fast paced world.
   A teachers portfolio can include examples of student work and projects, teaching evaluations, lesson plans, and personal educatinal background.
   By using student partiticpation systems, such as SurveyMonkey and Zoomerang, or school provided technology, teachers can get real time feedback from students which encouraging discussion and preparing students for high stakes testing.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Chapter 10: Promoting Success for All Students through Technology

Q: How can teachers use technology to design universally designed classrooms?

A universally designed classroom should apply universal design principles to the classroom setting. Universal design, an arcitecture term, means adapting physical environments to provide greater acess to all users.
In a classroom, this can also mean chaning the curriculums delivery for all users in addition to the physical environment.
Technology choices are an important part of creating a universally designed classroom. Technology allows the information to become engaging, flexible, and adaptable to all students (the users).
In the same way technology can be used to adapt a lesson to ESE students, it can adapt a lesson to different types of learners who may noit have a recognized learning challenge.


Differential instruction (DI) and universal design learning (UDL) complement each other well in a classroom. DI helps each childs needs be met by adapting the teaching to the learning needs of the student. UDL helps the teacher to make DI possible in a classroom full of diverse students with diverse needs.
Assistive technolgies make learning material accessible to all learners by finding ways around learning barriers and teaching the information in a different way. An example of these technologies would be text reading software to make reading easier for visually impaired students.

Chapter 9: Creating and Sharing Information with Multimedia Technolgies

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

Podcasts and audio recordings which are available through the internet and can be saved to personal computers and portable media devices. Anyone can record a podcast, including teachers.
Vodcasts include video with the audio and can be accessed in the same way.
The availablility  and accessibility of podcasts and vodcasts make the man excellent teaching tool. Teachers can make their own or access the thousands made by other teachers. They can be shared with students in the classroom or at home.
It makes learning more interactive andfrees up classroom time for questions and discussions because the students can review the lesson before or after it is taught in the classroom. They can also find podcasts or vodcasts on their own if they are intrigued by a subject and want to learn more.

Tech Tool

PBS Teachers is a website that I have used many times as an education student. They always seem to have a what I am looking for with regards to lesson plans and new teaching ideas. They provide amazing free resources such as educational cartoons, interactive learning games, lesson plans, worksheets, timelines etc for teachers and students to use. All of the resources are sorted by grade level and often list the standards that the lesson plays into.


Multimedia technology is "the presentation of information using multiple media including words, pictures, sound, and data." that can be used by teachers to communicate information to students. Traditional classrooms of the past did not use multimedia technology as a methos of instruction. Teachers today realize that this technology allows them to capture a students attention and better teach to all elarning styles.
Through the use of programs like PowerPoint teachers can spend more time interacting with students and less time writing on a chalkboard for students to copy down. The PowerPoinnt can then be shared online allowing students to spend more time listening and less time copying down information.
Whether online with podcats and vodcasts, or through DVDs and CDs, videos and audio can be used to engage visual and auditory learners, but teachers must be careful to make sure that it does not become a passive activity. Teachers need to make sure that students use higher order thinking skills in relation to the video and audio.

Chapter 8: Communicating and Networking with Websites, Blogs, Wikis and More

Q: How can teachers use wikis to promote collaborative learning?
Collaborative learning environments are defined as "settings where teachers and students work together to investigate curriculum topics and share academic information"
Wikis are perfect examples of collaborative learning environments as they allow multiple users to maintain and contribute to the website.
Teachers and students can use wikis for projects and to share information with each other and others in the school. Parent's could also view the wiki to check on assignments and their childs progress and participation.
The difference between a blog and a wiki website is mostly that a blog is maintained by one user opposed to many with a wiki. Blogs are usualy informal compared to a wikis formal tone.

Tech Tool
Edmodo is a free open source software microblogging tool. The website allows teachers and students to connect in a safe environment.
Image Credit: Edmodo

Edmodo allows teachers and students to connect and share information outside of the classroom and is set up to look like a social networking site, which really captures the attention of students.
It's many features allow teachers to give polls, beging discussions, and track student progress and participation. The microblogging site also offers a merit system and can be peronalized with educational apps.
Probably one of the most important benefits of using Edmodo is that it allows teachers and their students to connect with other classrooms and schools.
I would be very interested in using this website in my classroom because most popular social networking websites are usually banned, making it impossible for teachers to connecdt with their students that way.

Wikis, blogs, websites, instant messaging, discussion boards, and emails are all great ways that teacher can use to communicate with students outside of the classroom. Websites and wikis can incorporate all of these elements in one place, making for a streamlined, efficient, user friendly experience which is always important when getting people to consistently use a service.
These communication platforms also open  the possibility of learning from and networking with other classrooms and schools aroudn the world.
It is also important for teachers to teach in the students world. Students today may not remember a world without these technologies. It is the world they will be living in and working in as adults, so we must teach them how to thrive in it.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Online Learning Games: Med Myst

MedMyst is an “interactive learning adventure” that teaches science students the scientific method and biology. I would use this in a middle school science classroom. I have never had an easy time learning science myself, and the use of this tool would have helped me greatly. I learn much faster when I get wrapped in a story and the lesson is so much a part of it that I don’t realize I am learning.

“In MedMyst: Reloaded and MedMyst: Original students use the scientific method and science process skills to investigate infectious disease outbreaks.”

The student becomes part of the story with MedMyst and it makes it interesting as they are solving problems in a fun way.

Instead of just learning the scientific method in a lecture and having to repeatedly write it down to learn it, students can learn it through the Disease Defenders MedMyst game. The student is given a choice of ‘training’ with an epidemiologist, microbiologist, or veterinarian and help solve an infectious disease outbreak using the scientific method.

I have played a couple of the games on the Web Adventures site by RICE University and found them extremely engaging and captivating. I was able to move around the game like it was a virtual world and make decisions that affected the outcome.

I would use this as a center in the classroom or as a full lesson if the resources were available for the whole class to use a computer. The website even gives the learning objectives that correlate with each game and has printable worksheets available as supplements to the game, along with assessment options.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chapter 6: Engaging Leaners with Digital Tools

Q: What is information management and digital content?

Digital content in schools is educational information conveyed to students using technology. Digital content mainly refers to information from the internet. Using digital content allows the teacher to access ways of conveying curriculum content to every type of learner in a more streamlined, interesting, and efficient manner.

Information Management in schools refers to the way information is stored and organized. Teachers use programs and the internet to teach and to track things such as grades and assignments. This information is also stored digitally. This would be information management.

 Tech Tool : Goodreads

When I am looking for a new book, I browse the shop on my Nook Simple Touch. I love how convenient it is for me to find a new book without leaving my house, especially when I finish a book at midnight and eager to begin another before going to sleep. The one thing I miss about hardcopy books however is browsing the shelves of a bookstore. Reading lists of titles based on loose genres is not the same as standing in front of the Sci-Fi/Fantasy shelf in the store and scanning the covers and seeing the new releases .

Goodreads helps to bridge that gap between the old way and the new way of reading. When I read, I become wrapped up a specific  subgenre for a few books at a time and crave more of the same until I get it out of my system. While my Nook makes suggestions based of my reading history, Goodreads allows me to browse specific book sub genres along with making recommendations based on my favorite books. Goodreads also has an online community that helps to substitute for speaking to a bookstore employee about recommendations and upcoming releases.

Sign up is not required to browse Goodreads, but if you do sign up then you can catalog what books you have already read, are currently reading, and have lined up to read next.  Your books are arranged on ‘shelves’ where you can arrange them any way you like and can see the cover of the books. You can also share your shelves with friends so they can see what your reading.

I can also choose to add a widget to my blog or website to display my books and reviews. If I need to have a physical list of my books, I can export my shelves to a spreadsheet for a printable list.

Digital content and information management are essential to teachers is they want to be organized. Along with information management bookmarking tools can be used to organize websites and virtual teaching tools. They also allow teachers to share the suggested educational websites with their students in a way that is easy to access from  any device with internet access.

Along with storing their favorite websites online, teachers can access curriculum standards and curriculum based lesson plans online.

Webquests are great ways for teachers to put their lessons online in an organized and interactive way. These can also be shared with other teachers.

Educational websites allow students to learn in their own way and at their own pace.