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.