Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Reflective Post

This course has been an interesting course. Although I've struggled a little with some of the assignments, I believe I learned more tools and techniques to make me a more effective educator. Seeing as technology is a major key in today's society we must understand and know how to use it for our benefit. Some of things I've learned will be extremely beneficial like making a lesson plan, making a rubric, creating a teacher webpage, and making my first e-portfolio. I enjoyed the fact that prior to getting into the teaching program, this course was a requirement because it teaches us future educators how to make use of our tech tools and prepares us for a more digital teaching experience.
One of my favorite projects from this entire semester was making my first e-portfolio. The reason I enjoyed this assignment so much is because I got to be creative on my own and design things the way I wanted to. I also like the fact that I can use this for future jobs and even use this site when I start my own classroom for my parents and fellow teachers.
I also enjoyed the collaborative lesson plans because I was able to work with someone who had many similar interest as I did. I feel that the lesson plan assignment really helped me open my mind to other ideas from another individual. Also, I thought it was great because I feel that whenever you place two great minds together, you are able to come up with more intelligent ideas and learn more, especially when the ideas are coming from your peers.
On that note, I would like to conclude with one idea that might help make this course better for future students. Although the workload was just enough for this class, I feel that if assignments were due on Sundays opposed to Fridays more students will be free from receiving constant late penalties for assignments (almost every online course I've taken has offered this option, please don't take it in a negative way). Most students like myself that take classes online or at night, are extremely busy through out the week with working and taking classes. Therefore, it makes it difficult for us to submit assignments by Fridays, especially if we only have weekends off and have classes almost every night throughout the week. Even though my advice for improving the course may not be the best advice, I hope you can take it into consideration for your future students. I personally think my success rate would have been much better if this option was available this semester.
Since technology is growing so quick, I found this article on the New York Times Website on how students are urged to bring their Smartphones to school to enhance learning. Article
This article goes to show that a course like this one if effective for all educators because even students are urged to learn with technology.
Video provided by YouTube user Jp Victor 

Richtel, Matt. "Digitally Aided Education, Using the Students' Own Electronic Gear." New York Times., 22 March 2013. Web. 24 April 2013.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chapter 11 Journal

How can teachers and students use digital portfolios as tools for learning? A digital portfolio is a great tool for learning for both students and teachers. Teachers can use digital portfolios to offer an effective way to track their students progress and accomplishments. Teachers can also keep a digital portfolio of all their personal teachings and things like their resumes, experience, and references. Students also have a great advantage in using a digital portfolio because they can track their own work, be creative, have a little more self confidence when it comes to technology.

Tech Tool 11.1 Digital Portfolio Building Resources Tech Tools 11.1 is a great tech tool for many purposes especially for those students who want to become a teacher. I decided to explore these digital portfolio sites because in one of my classes this semester we are making a portfolio and I thought maybe it would be best to digitize mine. Furthermore, out of the three Digital portfolio sites the textbook offers I found the Taskstream most user friendly and have decided to begin digitizing my portfolio at the end of this semester. Digital portfolios may have their disadvantages but I believe they have more advantages then they do disadvantages.

Chapter 11 Summary Engaging Teachers and Students in Learning and Self-Reflection Chapter 11 gives great tips on how teachers and students can be proactive in tracking, evaluating, and assessing their own growth while using technology. It shows us how to evaluate ourselves and how to evaluate the growth of an educator. One of the most important tools in tracking growth is a Digital Portfolio. As I explained above a digital portfolio has many advantages and the advantages definitely out way the bad. Chapter 11 also provides tips on how to involve your students in learning and assessment. Also, it gives tip on how to provide online surveys for online preassessment and even provides a tech tool on how to build your own online resource with survey monkey, Zoomerang, and Poll Builder.

Educators also need to take into consideration that not all students are able to participate. This chapter does a great job on how to use student participation systems which are handheld wireless tools that offer interactive learning. For example, a clicker is a great handheld tool were students are able to participate with a handheld device based on questions provided by the educator and answered by the student. With the use of these tools, an educator can really change the experience in their classroom and are also able to evaluate and asses themselves based on feedback from the students.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Chapter 10 Journal

What are differentiated instruction (DI) and universal design for learning (UDL)? Differentiated instruction is an instructional approach that gives students a variety of options for taking in information and helping them get a better understanding of ideas. DI is a great way for educators to create different experience for students in order to meet their individual needs. On the other hand, Universal design for learning, is a concept based on how schools can serve all students well in the educational setting. UDL takes new advances in the approach of how the brain processes information to the design of curriculum in order to accommodate the needs of a wider variety of students and their needs.

Tech Tool 10.1 Extra-Large and Online Calculators Extra large and online calculators are a great tech tool for students. For example, an extra large is good for visually impaired students making it easy for them to see but it's also great for other student because they are more interested in it's size and makes them more comfortable with the tool. Next, online calculators are great because since students like using the internet and are more engaged when they are doing online activities, the use of online calculators really encourages students to have a want in using their online calculator. The online calculator I tested was great because it even offered a scientific version. The use of a scientific calculator online is great for those students who can't afford to spend $100 for one in the stores.

Chapter 10 Summary Promoting Success for All Students through Technology Chapter 10 introduces Differentiated instruction and Universal Design for Learning which I explained above. As an educator we are given the opportunity to to be an instructional designer. We are responsible for arranging seating, group, activities lessons and many other things. This chapter provides educators with information on how to incorporate technology from low end to high end into our curriculum. It gives us ideas like how to introduce an electronic speller, dictionary, handheld calculators, assistive technologies, speech recognition software, and many others sources of technology into the everyday classroom. One of the tech tools this chapter introduced I found quite interesting, Electronic Story Books. This is great because with things like the kindle in today's tech world, it really shows a student reading from an electronic source can be fun too. Chapter 10 also gives ideas on how to approach the process of writing and how to transform writing with technology.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chapter 9 Journal

How can teachers use video resources in their teachings? Video resources are a great tool for teachers to use in the resources because it is one of the most popular and most effective multimedia tool in the school atmosphere. Also, since it captures the interest of students and it's the most accessible multimedia tool for teachers, possibilities are endless. Teachers can use video resources in their teachings in order to capture the minds of their students and many other ways. For example, videos allow educators to pause and rewind in order to review material and discuss what just happened to make the class more interactive. Also, a teacher can instruct students to write responses to what they just viewed and use that as a tool to assess what they just learned. They also can use video resources in their teachings to expand the level of knowledge beyond what the text book covers.

Tech Tool 9.1 Visual Learning with Digital Projectors and Interactive Whiteboards Tech tool 9.1 is one of my favorite tech tools available for educators. Digital projectors and interactive whiteboards really enhance the way a student learns and grasp their material. With a digital projector you can enhance a video from a computer screen which only a few people can see to a movie size screen to capture your entire audience (students). Furthermore, with an interactive whiteboard, you have the same capability with being able to capture an entire classroom but also more things like enhancing your readings, lectures, and powerpoints. When I become an educator, I think these two tech tools will be used in my classroom very often for the the simple purposes of how these tech tools work to capture an audience and because they are so versatile.

Chapter 9 Summary Creating and Sharing Information with Multimedia Technologies Chapter 9 discusses how an educator can create and share information with multimedia technology. A multimedia technology is technology that combines multi medias like text, voice, picture, data, and data in a single technology to enhance learning and and make it interactive. Chapter 9 also provides great ideas on how to use PowerPoints in your teaching. It provides strategies on how to make your presentations interactive and memorable because as an educator we want the students to remember the information we teach them, promote visual text that enhances a better discussion, and and make slides that grab the attention of our students.

Using videos in the classroom are also a great way to enhance teaching, learning, and visual literacy. This chapter provides all the tools you need to succeed in this area. Streaming videos from the web is also a cost effective way to deliver your message to your students. Furthermore, as a teacher you always have to stay ahead of the game and think of ways to incorporate the technologies you have at hand. Cameras are great because you can use them to take photos and make videos. If this tool is available you can also have your students take pictures and make movies to give your students an unforgettable learning experience that they will always remember and it's a great way for them to document their learning.

Podcast and Vodcasts are also another great tools teachers can use for teaching. This software program is great because students could use it for free with the use of iTunes or bloglines. Another great thing about this software is that educational software is available everywhere on the web making it user friendly and FREE. As an educator we must always take advantage on the free things we have available especially when it comes to technology because usually tech tolls are costly and depending on where you teach, certain tools might not be in our budget.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chapter 8 Journal

How can teachers use a website or blog to improve teaching and learning? Websites and blogs create many ways to improve teaching and learning, making both sources a productive in the education world. Blogging is one of the most popular tools available for the teenage society. Therefore, getting a student to be interested in using one wouldn't be difficult. In order to promote student learning, English teachers have started using blogs to promote literacy learning through writing and analysis of language. Also, for other subjects like science and social studies students are able to access news related blogs for research purposes and expand their learning. The best part about blogging for students is that all ages can find it useful, even elementary students learning how to read. Furthermore, teachers can use blogs to connect and network with other teacher for ideas to improve their teaching and receive support. Being connect as a teacher and teaching a student how to be connected is a great source for improving teaching and engaging the student to want to learn.

Tech Tool 8.1 Teacher Website and Blog-Building Resources Tech Tool 8.1 is something I've already began using in this class with this blogger site. I must admit when I first started to use blogger I had a lot of learning to do but now that I know how to use it I'm able to navigate through here much faster and get more use of the benefits is has to offer. Also, I've had some experience with as well because I had to help my step father build a website for his company. Therefore, I decided to explore the other sites and realized how easy it is to develop your own website and blogger through all the tools available on the internet. Also, I like the fact that many of these website are free and very user friendly.

Chapter 8 Summary Chapter 8 concentrates on ways teachers and students can utilize computers and other technology tools to share information in the classroom and online. This chapter offers great ways on how to build a class website to show students how to look up their assignments and how to create and use blogs in the learning and teaching world. As an educator you need to be proactive and engage the student. Therefore, if you are up to date with the latest technologies and know how to utilize them properly, you can succeed with your student. For example, I know that having a discussion board really engages the student. It helps the student voice their opinion without being humiliated by other students but also makes them more interested in participation because it's fun to comment and communicate online. In comparison to a student using these tools to communicate with their classmates, teachers can also use tools like instant messaging, emailing, and teacher discussion boards to better themselves as educators.

Computers, websites, and blogs really help teachers become more interactive with their students because they can provide information to the student beyond what a textbooks offers and helps the student learn even more by conducting their own research with a website provided by the information the teacher has gathered for the student to continue and expand their learning on a subject. Furthermore, I believe that students and teachers aren't the only ones who benefit from online learning. I think that websites and blogs are also a great way for parents to stay in tuned with what their child is learning and to what to expect for their homework as well.

Chapter 8 also gives information on how to collaborate Wikis as a learning strategy. Wiki are websites or blogspace that are edited and maintained by groups of people. Teachers could also build their own Wiki and use it in the classroom. This chapter provides strategies on how to use a Wiki with your students as well.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chapter 7 Journal

How can teachers evaluate the effectiveness of educational software? Teachers can evaluate the effectiveness of educational software in many ways, but first they must be able to identify the things that make up poor software. Poor software usually lets the students control the activity oppose to a good one were the software controls the activity. Next, if the software promotes competition, violence, or stereotyping, then the software is poor quality because it's not a good source of learning and providing bad images for the student. Finally, if the software forces a student to react quick oppose to long term thinking, then the software will also be consider poor quality and not effective. Once the teachers has identified these basics on a software they will be able to determine if it is an effective educational software.

Tech Tool 7.2 A Math Learning Game- Zoombinis Logical Journey Tech Tool 7.1 is a great math learning game. I found it pretty interesting. My nephew sometimes struggle with basic math so I tried this tool out on him. He was like a little kid in the candy store, I even caught him giggling at the animations. He thought it was really cool and said he would love to play it again. I also found it interesting because the colors and animations throughout the game are neat. Even though we only tested the game for a short period of time. Also, another thing I found interesting is that for the period of time he was playing it really engaged him in site. He did not want to give me back the computer. Therefore, I think this tech tool provides a fun interactive way to get students involved in learning math and having fun with it.

 This video was provided by YouTube user Ilikemustard

Chapter 7 Summary Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning with Software and Web Tools Chapter 7 does an overview on how educational software supports and promotes problem solving and inquiry learning from students in all elementary, middle, and high school levels.It approaches the areas educators have most difficulties with in computers and software and how to find out their effectiveness. It explains the two types of software. First, there is system software, system software is responsible for the overall functioning and control of a computer and includes an operating system, database managing, and TP monitor. The second type of software is application software that performs specific functions in specialized ways to produce different services. These services include word processing, spreadsheets, slides, etc. Next, it talks about open sources software is available to the public at little or no cost. 

With all the types of software available, chapter 7 discusses how to evaluate different software and gives a general criteria to determine whether they are valuable or a wasteful source for learning. It also provides online software resources for teachers and how to use educational software for problem solving and inquiry learning in order to meet educational goals. Also, Chapter 7 gives information to the educator on how to build, invent and create software. 

Chapter 7 gives information on educational games as a learning resource. For example, tech tool 7.2 provided a great, fun, and interactive learning game for student and this is just one of many ways to show a student a fun and interactive way of learning through educational games. Even though there has been many debates on games and gaming, I feel like educational games are a great way to get a student involve, especially for those who have a hard time paying attention in class or even those students with ADD because in involves the student in many more ways then one. I love the fact that this chapter also provides the strategies on how to include games in their curriculum because we live in a technology world therefore, students must know how to approach technology properly.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Chapter 6 Journal

What are WebQuests and virtual field trips? WebQuests and virtual field trip are online tools designed to get the student more involved and interested in learning. WebQuests are designed by students, students make their inquiries and then teachers guide them. In a WebQuest, students navigate through a web resource to gather and learn information on a topic. Once they've learned about a topic, they will then assess what they find or prepare a presentation based on their findings. There are many sites and resources teacher can use in order to create a successful WebQuest. In comparison to WebQuest, virtual field trips work in a similar way but differ because these are designed to take a student on a field trip anywhere in the world without ever having to leave their schools. Multiple computers are required for virtual field trips because students can explore museums and historical places anywhere. Virtual field trips are still new therefore, a lot of research is still being done but student so far have shown higher reading comprehension skills in a recent study done.

Tech Tools 6.3 An interactive online field trip: The Cave of Chauvet-Point-d'Arc This tech tool is all about online field trips. I explored this website and it quite interesting. This site takes you right to the source while adding the interesting facts and history behind the cave paintings. It also enhances the site by showing some amazing pictures. I think this is a great idea for students. I even enjoyed browsing through the website as an adult.
The following virtual field trip was provided by YouTube user IntegratingHabitats 

Chapter 6 Summary Teaching with Educational Websites and Other Online Resources This chapter introduces online resources, book marking, social book marking, and information alerts used for organizing. It provides information for managing information electronically and gathering the information to make your lesson fun and interesting. It provides bookmarking tools and provides education on how to use them appropriately like on Portaportal. It also gives the information needed on how to use social book marking as well.

One thing I found interesting in this chapter was how to create your own standards connector. A standards connector is an effective response to your demands as an educator mandated by the state and local curriculum. It's a collection on web resources that facilitate teaching required topics and allows the user to manage and store information for their curriculum.

Next, it talks about WebQuest and virtual field trips which I explained in the above. Also, it provides information on educational websites as teaching resources and how to utilize them. Using educational websites interactively to engage a student is extremely important because you want to be able to keep your students interested and you want them to absorb the information your teaching as an educator. This chapter explains how to do this in an effective manner.

Finally, it show educators how to use technology transformation on their lesson plans. I love technology. Therefore, learning how to incorporate technology in my everyday life as a teacher is very useful. This chapter provided many useful ways for me to do so.