Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Course Reflection

I am not very intelligent when it comes to the use of technology. Even though I have grown up in this technologically advanced era, I have never been computer smart. Honestly, the thought of having an online class scared me, and to top it off, we were learning about the use of technology. I had to learn about computers through a computer. As the course progressed, I realized that I was learning valuable information about how to incorporate technology into my future classroom. I knew this class was going to be essential in my future career as an educator.

I have learned so much throughout this course, and I know I will be able to apply it to my career in the future. The textbook has taught me different strategies for becoming a 21st century teacher as well as exploring the new ways that technology can transform teaching and learning in schools. It has also taught me how I can engage my students’ learning with the use of digital tools. As the years go by, there are going to be new digital tools to use for instruction or learning within a classroom. It is important that we learn how to use these tools to let our students reach their full academic potential.

Even though this was an online course, I feel like I had a connection to some of my peers. I got to interact with certain students through all of our online discussions and collaborative projects. I was actively engaged in each assignment and activity. In some of my classes, I find that the textbook wasn’t a necessity or beneficial for passing the course or learning the material. This textbook, however, was a great tool and was definitely needed in order to succeed in the class.

In my opinion, this course achieved all of the learning objectives that the syllabus stated. The collaborative lesson plan, WebQuest assignment, and teacher web page were created to establish a goal of using technology in instruction. They also used technology as the medium in which we would teach a lesson. I learned how to evaluate and critique software and hardware tools. I realized how important it was to make sure my sources were reliable and useful. The Legal and Ethical Issues discussion allowed me to evaluate and critique the ethical issues that come with the use of technology in a classroom. The wiki, WebQuest, and teacher web page showed me how I can use technology as a support for classroom management. Many assignments mentioned the importance of assistive and adaptive technology for students with disabilities. They also taught me how to create teaching strategies for teaching students who are ESE or ELL.

My overall opinion on the class was that that it was effective. The instructional methods were effective. I do think that for some of the bigger projects and assignments such as the teacher portfolio, collaborative wiki, PowerPoint, and WebQuest, there needed to be a little more instruction and direction on how to get started. Yes, there were useful videos walking us through it, but for those who have not had much experience with technology, it was as if we were starting with a blank slate and no prior knowledge. I was a bit stressed at times because I did not know where to even begin. It was a fast paced course, but nothing that was impossible to achieve. I do like how the bigger assignments were spaced out so we were not overwhelmed all at once. Overall I would say that this course was great, and I would definitely recommend it to others. 

         Learning is Required
                           A photo by Enokson on Flickr

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, April 15, 2014

Chapter 11- Engaging Students in Performance Assessment and Reflective Learning

Focus Question:
What is performance assessment for teachers and for students?

     A performance assessment evaluates the teacher’s performance in the classroom. For a student, the assessment evaluates their academic progress. There are three elements of an assessment:
    1.  New Teacher Assessment- You will be evaluated based upon your ability to teach in a classroom, as well on your knowledge about teaching methods, classroom management strategies, and how to relate to students, families, and colleagues. 
    2.   Student Assessment- You will be responsible for evaluating the academic progress of all of your students. Evaluating their learning progress will also help you assess your effectiveness as a teacher.
    3.   Student Self-Assessment- The students should actively participate in the evaluation of their own learning.  

A performance evaluation of the students could include:
·         -Writing assignments
·         -Class participation
·         -Homework
·        - Individual presentation
·         -Quizzes
·         -Self-assessments

A performance evaluation of the teachers could include:
·         -New teacher writing assignments
·         -Education course participation
·         -Homework
·         -Individual presentation
·         -Quizzes
·        - New teacher self-assessments

     Digital Dialog 11.2:
     1.   As a teacher, I would highlight the fact that the answers are anonymous. Students could become more competitive with their peers if they knew who answered what. I would also stress the idea of everyone’s answers being important and useful in class discussion. I would try to make each student feel comfortable enough to state their opinions without feeling embarrassed.
    2. Clicker could be used for any form of question whether it was factual or simply opinion based. I think clicker can be used to help enhance classroom discussion.
    3. Incorrect answers can be a positive strategy for reviewing material. The teacher can see which areas have the most uncertainty or difficulty. You could talk about the wrong answers and explain to the class why they may be incorrect, without stating who answered it incorrectly. 

          No matter what profession you choose, you are always going to be evaluated based upon your performance. As teachers, we are not only going to be the one giving the assessments, but we will be evaluated as well. Assessment is very important because it can show teachers where the students stand academically. It can also show administration how effective a teacher is inside the classroom. When we think of evaluations, we typically think of standardized tests and exams. Those tests usually do not give a well-rounded assessment of the academic progress of students. It is important to use many forms of assessment when evaluating students learning. Each evaluation could show us different things.
     Keeping a digital teaching portfolio can come in handy when being evaluated. This is a digital website where you can organize your educational and professional materials. A portfolio can show a teachers growth and development over time.
     Let’s be honest, a classroom full of actively participating students is more fun to teach! We should motivate our students to be more engaged in our lessons. Ask them what they would like to learn about and how they would like to learn it. If we give them a choice, they could be more interested and eager to learn the material.
     I am a fan of using pre-assessments before introducing a new lesson and topic. I believe more teachers should use this form of evaluation to see what the students know before you present the information. In the book, it mentions how teachers should connect their lessons to what the students already know or have been taught. I agree! Building off of a student’s prior knowledge can be a more effective way to teach.
     To help increase student participation, we can use classroom response systems. These interactive tools are a great tool for discussions and lessons. In high school, I used the ActivBoard’ ActiVote. These wireless eggs allowed students to choose an answer to a question. After everyone had answered it, it displayed a pie chart or graph of how many people chose each answer. It was a great way to change-up the typical multiple choice test using a paper and pencil. Below is a picture of the ActiVote device and an example of a chart displaying the class answers.                                                                                                                                                                                
Photo by NJ Tech Teacher on Flickr

                                   Photo by OllieBray on Flickr  

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, April 6, 2014

Chapter 10- Promoting Success for All Students through Technology

Focus Question:
How can technology engage and inspire learning for diverse students?
  • ·   Teachers can use technology to reveal hidden histories and untold stories. If you can connect a lesson directly to a diverse student, they are more likely going to embrace that topic. If they learn about famous diverse people and their role in history, they are going to develop an interest for that learning subject.
  • ·   Teachers can also use technology to relate the students to what they may be experiencing at that time in their lives. Assignments were always more enjoyable when I could connect them to my personal experiences and situations. For diverse students, it is important to make the learning culturally relevant. Try to relate assignments to real life situations that they can understand.
  • ·   Using technology to expand teaching methods is important when working with diverse students. Those students may feel out of place, so incorporating small groups into your teaching strategies will make them feel more comfortable and eager to learn. Technology allows teachers to create situations where students of different genders, ethnicity, races, and cultures are able to work together in cooperative groups without feeling isolated.
  • ·   Teachers can use technology to connect the classroom with what’s going on outside of the classroom. Students can use technology to go on virtual field trips, look at newspapers from different countries, translate to different languages, and communicate with other people around the world. Including different cultures and backgrounds into the curriculum will inspire diverse students to learn. 

Digital Dialog 10.1:
1. As a whole, I learn best in school by hands-on activities. Physically participating in an assignment or project makes comprehension easier for me. I do feel as though my learning preference does vary with different subjects. Hands-on activities are more beneficial when learning about science. I do not like using technology when learning about math.
2. For the most part, all of my teachers in the past have varied their way of instruction in the classroom. For some lessons, we could use computers or conduct experiments. For other lessons we could simply read the text directly out of the textbook. I think changing the way you teach is very successful in classrooms because you are catering to different learning styles. Having a wide variety of teaching styles is important when teaching.
3. When organizing activities for diverse students, I will make sure to use different teaching methods. Some students may learn better by the use of visuals, while others benefit more from active learning with physical activity. I will vary my teaching styles to support the learning needs of all students in my classroom. 

     Technology gives teachers a lot of opportunity to expand the learning of all students. It is important to try to cater to the learning needs of each individual student. Unfortunately, there are not enough hours in the school day to individualize the lesson for each student; however you can use technology to vary the way you teach things. 
     Learning is more difficult for diverse students because they often feel uncomfortable and as if they do not belong. Teachers can use technology to inspire the learning of these students and make them eager to learn by connecting them with the lesson. If the lesson is related to an interest of theirs, they are more likely to understand it. 
     Differentiated instruction and universal design for learning are ways to adjust the curriculum to meet the needs of the diverse students in a classroom. Teachers should think about the many different learning styles when teaching a lesson. He or she needs to make sure give equal learning opportunity to every student. 
     There are technology accommodations that can be used inside and outside of a classroom to help support the learning of the students. Word clouds, electronic speller and dictionaries, and my personal favorite, the calculator, are great tools to use when learning. I honestly could not imagine going through school without a calculator. It’s crazy how one electronic tool can make such a difference in learning. Below is a picture of a word cloud that I found about learning. I feel like a lot of students could relate to this specific word cloud. 

             Reflecting on My Learning by lauracoughlin on Flickr. 


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, March 30, 2014

Chapter 9- Expressing Creativity with Multimedia Technologies

Focus Question: How can teachers create PowerPoint presentations for maximum teaching potential and learning impact?

     In order to reach maximum teaching potential and learning impact, a teacher must strategize the creation and presentation of the PowerPoint. PowerPoint gives teachers a chance to create interesting presentations, however keeping the students attention and successfully explaining information is very important.
-A teacher can generate class discussion by using images. Direct and detailed images are going to appeal to the students more so than a paragraph of words.  
-A teacher can promote visual analysis for the discussion topics. The images should create discussion in the classroom.
-Display the questions to short writing prompts in the presentation. The students can write short essays to summarize the presentation and tell what he or she thought was most important.
-The PowerPoint slides should be used to capture the attention of the students. The teacher is the one teaching the class. The presentation should be used as an aid in conveying the material. Make the slides interesting and appealing to the students in your classroom. Keep them simple and to the point. Also, keep them engaged by asking questions and telling stories.
-Create PowerPoint games with the students to help them develop problem solving and learning skills.

Digital Dialog 9.2:
1. Using short videos as a teaching tool is great because short videos could explain a concept in better detail than a teacher could. The videos are usually more entertaining for students. This could help them comprehend the information. A disadvantage would be if the videos are not educational and not useful for educational purposes. Also, if the student is not interested in the video content, he or she may not benefit from watching it.
2. If I was using video in my classroom, I would want the students to watch the full video before asking them to reflect on it in a written or group discussion. I would not want to stop throughout the video because I feel as though stopping would interrupt the learning process. When you pause the video and talk, you are taking their attention off of the video and what is going on. Continuously stopping could stop comprehension.
3. I think students would pay closer attention and learn more from videos they have created themselves. The students would take pride in their creation. They are being forced to learn new information in order to create the video about it, so they have to retain the information. When a student simply watches a video, there is a chance that they may not fully understand what the video is about.

     Multimedia is a big part of the curriculum in schools today. In most classrooms, teachers use multimedia during instruction every day. I do believe that multimedia is beneficial in our classrooms; however there are times where they can be a distraction as well. They have to be used in the correct way in order to be successful in helping students learn new concepts. Statistics show that people learn more when being taught through more than one source of information. In this chapter, it is called multimodal learning. When a teacher combines his/her lecture with the use of visuals and models, the students have a better chance of retaining the information.

     PowerPoint is well-known software program that is used by many teachers and students throughout the world. PowerPoint is a simple way to present information, but teachers can spice it up by adding different affects and graphics. In order to make PowerPoint presentations and effective tool in education, the teacher must make it interactive and engaging. The teacher must get their point across without overwhelming the students with too much information.

     I am an advocate for the use of video in the classroom. I believe it helps the students learn information in a different way. The students get bored with standard instruction, so using videos can be more interesting and enjoyable for them. The videos should stay at a shorter length so the students are staying focused. 

Educational Postcard:  "Digital technologyis now coming into the classroom"
                               Educational Postcard, a photo by KenWhytock on Flickr. 


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, March 16, 2014

Chapter 8- Communicating and Collaborating with Social Media

Focus Question: How would you describe the impact of communications technologies for teachers and students?
Communication technologies allow the students and teacher, as well as the parents, to be on the same page about information pertaining to their classroom. Email and text messaging allows electronic conversations and communications to occur. This is a quick and easy way to ask questions and bring up concerns. Classroom websites are a great source for parents and students. If they want to know what is going on in the classroom, they can all go to the same place. Blogs and online discussions encourage open communication about a wide variety of topics. Wiki’s are a great collaboration option. This allows students and teachers to work together in creating an online resource. All of these media technologies are used to enhance communication inside and outside of the classroom. These technologies let students share their ideas and information with their peers.

Digital Dialog 8.1:
1. In my opinion, texting is a popular way of communication because of how convenient it is. You can be sitting at your house in Florida and text your friend in Italy within a second. Some people are more shy and reserved in person, and communicating through texting is easier for those people.
2. Reading skills may be enhanced through texting because of the constant reading and interpreting that occurs. Writing skills, however, are lacking since texting became popular. Abbreviations and the shortening of phrases and words are making their way into classroom assignments and papers. Unfortunately, people are using their texting language in inappropriate situations. I personally write out each word and phrase how it is supposed to be written. I make sure that I am grammatically correct while texting. I have not, and will not, allow texting to hinder my writing skills.
3. Teachers are going to have to focus on the importance of grammar and spelling as texting becomes an issue in writing skills. Some of my professors have reiterated that we are not allowed to use texting language within research papers. I thought that was common sense, but apparently it is an issue in classrooms today.

As technology has become more prominent in our daily life, we have started to use it as forms of communication. Communication technology that is used in the real world can also be used in a classroom setting as well. Teachers can use a multitude of programs as a way to communicate with their students and their parents. These programs such as email, texting, bogs, and online discussions, allow students to expand their learning and exchange information between their peers. Teachers can communicate through synchronous or asynchronous communication. Synchronous is immediate. Cell phone conversations through texting or voice calls are a quick and efficient way to communicate. Asynchronous has a bit of a delay.  Reaching a professor through canvas is an example of this.

In this chapter, we learned how to integrate electronic communications into teaching. Throughout my years in school, I have seen my teachers use these. I have had to complete many discussion posts online to engage learning outside of the classroom. This blog post is another example of that. I really like the idea of sharing information with the families of the students in your classroom. A class website is a one-stop-shop for all parents to receive the same information and stay updated with what is going on. Keeping the families involved makes it more enjoyable for everyone. Below is an example of a classroom website for a 4th grade class. Teachers can use Facebook and Twitter to create classroom pages as well. These pages can be private and only available for certain people. 

                   New Class Website by BarbaraLN
                                           New Class Website, a photo by BarbaraLN on Flickr.


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, February 26, 2014

Chapter 6- Fostering Online Learning with Educational Websites and Apps

   Focus Question: What are different types of educational websites available on the internet? 
According to our textbook, there are 6 types of educational websites that are available for students and teachers. 
1. Lesson Plan Websites- Lesson plan websites give teachers ideas for classroom lessons and activities. They offer step by step procedures in teaching the lesson to students. These sites also give lesson extension ideas as well as interactive activities that the students can use. 
2. Student-to-Expert Communication Websites- These websites are a great way for students to connect with experts on particular subjects. They ask questions and receive answers electronically. On these websites, students can also be tutored in areas they are struggling in. 
3. Archival and Primary Source Websites- During research assignments, students can come to this website to find reliable primary sources. 
4. Skills Practice Websites- These websites give students extra practice on different academic material. 
5. Exploration and Discovery Websites- They allow the student to explore a subject in depth rather than simply finding the basic information. It offers interactive learning activities that make comprehension easier for the student. 
6. Real-Time and Recorded Data Websites- This gives the student a different learning perspective. These websites want to make the students feel involved while learning about different science topics. 

Digital Dialog 6.2: 
1. I do feel as though requiring all students to take an online course is a good educational policy. As the years go by, there are many technological advances. It is important to keep students up-to-date with new innovations. Online classes give students the opportunity to learn through the use of technology while learning technology itself. 
2. Virtual learning and online courses do prepare students for future careers. In many careers today, we are forced to use technology. If we introduce technology to students at a younger age, they will have better gain experience. They will also learn how to communicate through technology, which is another part of some career fields. 
3. I prefer a blended learning experience as opposed to entirely in-class or online. I think face-to-face social interaction is crucial for everyone. If we require online classes for students, they are losing out on personal interactions with their peers. In my opinion, face-to-face interaction is more beneficial than interactions through the use of technology. If we blend the learning experience, the students and teachers will get the best of both worlds. They will be able develop relationships and socialize in the classroom, and they will be able to use technology while learning. 

     This entire chapter is a great insight to the use of educational websites and apps in learning. The internet gives us thousands of tools that are beneficial for the students learning and for our teaching. Both teachers and students can use online bookmarking to manage the information that we find. In this course, I was introduced to Delicious. I have found myself using this bookmarking tool more often as I switch to different computers. I love how I have access to important websites and sources at all times. One part of the chapter that I was intrigued by was virtual field trips. I had never heard of this before, but the idea is genius. Unfortunately, not every student has the ability to go on a field trip to different museums or aquariums. With online field trips, students can visit different places all around the world without leaving the classroom. I would love to share that experience with my students in my future classroom. 
     I am a huge fan of incorporating technology into our curriculum; however I feel as though there should be a balance between the amount of technology and the amount of in-class interactions in a classroom setting. I think online classes are beneficial to engage learning through the use of technology. I also believe humans need to interact with one another face to face to create stronger relationships and connections. As a student, I learn better in a classroom than I do in an entirely online course. 
     I addressed the 6 types of educational websites for teachers and students at the beginning of this post. Each educational website has a different purpose and works in different ways. Teachers use these websites to enhance their teaching and students use these websites to enhance their learning. The great thing about these websites is that they allow students to learn through interactive activities. Engaging the students in different learning activities will ensure comprehension. 
     As a future teacher, I am beginning to realize the big part technology plays in school systems. Every teacher should take advantage of the online resources that are available to not only help teach a lesson but to help their students learn new information. 

                     Virtual Classroom - Year 12 by Mr Ush
                                        Virtual Classroom - Year 12, a photo by Mr Ush on Flickr.

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.

Chapter 7- Exploring Problem Solving with Software, Apps, and Games

Focus Question: What are the standard and open-source software applications available on most computers?
     The standard software applications on our computers are indispensable tools. Different jobs call for different standard software. My most used standard software application is Microsoft Word. In fact, I am even using it as I type. Microsoft Word comes in handy when developing any type of writing assignment. It offers great tools such as paragraph spacing, different fonts, and a grammar and spell check. Doctors use software programs to collect data of all of their patients. Architects use software programs for designing their next big project. Accountant use computer software for tax preparation. Open-source software programs are available for public use. Certain organizations will make the source codes free for the user. These are basically alternatives to the standard software programs. OpenOffice is an alternative to Microsoft Office. Firefox is an alternative to Internet Explorer. These programs can be used in the same way, however they are sometimes more readily available.

Digital Dialog 7.2:
     1. I do believe there is an impact on the violence that is found in some video games. Research has showed that most children who play violent video games or watch violent television shows tend to develop more violent habits. I think that if children are constantly playing violent video games and computer games, they will think it is okay to participate in violent behavior.
     2. In my opinion, there are many educational advantages to games that introduce appropriate and useful situations. Some games teach children to cooperate, share, problem solving, and even resolving personal problems in a nonviolent way. I like the games that focus on developing positive characteristics of a child. If a game has taught a child problem solving skills, that child will bring that knowledge into the classroom.
     3. When I am a teacher, I will use the students’ interest of gaming when thinking of activities. A child who enjoys games would be more eager to learn through the use of games. I could assess my students with the use of computer activities. I could also give my students time to play educational games on the computer. Not only will they be learning new topics, but they will also be learning how to use technology.

     As teachers, we can use technology to teach students problem solving skills. There are many programs and activities on the internet that teach children about the curriculum topic while teaching them how to solve real life problems. The book introduces the 3 steps of the problem solving framework: understand the problem, use problem solving strategies, and check results. I can use these 3 steps in my future classroom when asking my students questions about particular topics. I would ask the student a specific question, they will have time to figure out the answer, and the we could reflect on their answer and decide why or how it is right or wrong.
     Software is one of the most important technological tools in society today. There are so many ways we can use software in teaching, learning, and our everyday careers. The use of software makes these jobs ten times easier. The great thing about software is that we have control over what it does. They are programmed to perform certain tasks; however we are the ones controlling its every move. We can customize and personalize our creations for different uses and situations. Before we use these software programs, it is important to evaluate them to see if they are appropriate for students and if the learning content is reliable. Students can create different charts and tables on these programs. This is a more interactive and engaging approach to exploring the subject matter.
     The book mentioned a debate about whether computer games could be or should be used as learning resources. I remember when I was younger; my parents would not allow me to have any video game systems such as PlayStation or Xbox. They believed that those programs had no benefit to my learning. They did not want to introduce me to the violence on these gaming systems. Looking back, I do understand why they made that decision with me. When I become a parent, I will limit the video games that my child will use. I do believe they can serve a learning benefit if used correctly. The educational computer and video games is a good learning tool for students. I would use appropriate computer games as an assessment and practice tool in my future classroom. Students can either work independently or cooperatively in computer games. 
     The graph below shows the percentage of children that become engaged by computer and video games, as well as other technological sources. You can see that the two categories with the most engaged children were both computer and video games. If a child becomes so engaged by these two items, it would be a great idea to incorporate this into their learning environment. 

                   University of Maryland Researchers Find Home Computer Use by Kids Brings Benefits, But Not to All by Merrill College of Journalism Press Releases

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.