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.