Reflection on EDU 305

The International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) has created standards to help teachers effectively integrate technology into their classrooms. There are three concepts created by the ISTE that I feel strongly represent how I want to use technology in the classroom.

The first is to “Design and Develop digital age learning experiences and assessments” Standard 2B. This concept helps students use technology enriched learning to help explore their personal interest and curiosities to become active learners. It also has a constructivists viewpoint when it encourages students to manage their own learning, and focusing on their personal growth. I have learned from experience that students are more intrinsically motivated when their goal is to do better than the day before, and not competing against their neighbor for a better grade. If we can use technology to help our students explore their own curiosities, they will be able to set their own goals for education. Self-efficacy in learning is very important in student academic growth.

The second concept that I found intriguing was from “Model digital age work and learning” standard 3B. Part of the classroom instruction today is to prepare students to be productive and innovative citizens of the 21st century. With all of the new social media and faster communication tools, some students are become detached from social interaction with peers and the community. Standard 3B discusses how we need to teach our students how to use technology to effectively communicate with peers and the community. A use in the classroom is showing how students can connect their ideas with the world, and teaching them how to respond to other’s ideas respectfully. Communicating through the internet is a great tool, but it can also be a big weapon. Teaching our students to have ethics and morals when disagreeing or searching the internet is crucial to incorporating technology into the classroom effectively.

Lastly, the concept “Promote and model digital citizenship and responsibility” standard 4B. Legal and ethical behavior is not a concept that people talk about when they talk about computer safety. The usual safety tip is to not give personal information out carelessly on the internet. However, we need to educate our students that your behavior on the internet needs to be just as legal and ethical as if you were doing it in real life.

This class has opened my eyes to the endless uses of technology in the classroom. The most important concept I have learned this semester is to always integrate technology in a MEANINGFUL way. Having technology is a great tool, but do not waste technology by forcing it into the curriculum and lessons. It should always enhance the learning of students and their education.

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Communication for the Classroom

I would use blogs to help with getting classroom news and school news out to parents. That way parents could comment on the information and maybe a fellow parent could answer the question instead of always having to email the teacher and wait for a response. Also students can share their work via classroom blogs. How many parents have buckets and buckets of their kids work, when they could lessen that load and store those memories and accomplishments on a blog. I would also use blogs for literacy and social studies. For literacy when we do activities like book analysis/reports, we can have students answer the guided questions in their blog, write a review for the book and/or post a video they made themselves giving the report. Students can comment on each other’s blogs and compare what they thought of the book in review. For social studies I could have my students share their personal culture and history by creating an all about me blog. Holidays, culture, religion, and traditions are difficult to integrate in a meaningful way while keeping parent request in mind. This way students can celebrate their heritage and other students can comment and share without having to explicitly teach each culture in my classroom.

Voki, Animoto, and GoAnimate

I have reviewed three programs Animoto, GoAnimate, and Voki. Voki is where you can create your own avatar, manipulating the head, clothes, and accessories. You can even add a voice to your Voki. You can share your Voki on mulitple forms of social media (including blogs). The website also includes large selections of lesson plans that can be used in the classroom. The site advertises that Voki improves student comprehension on lessons.  GoAnimate is a site where you can make professional videos with little effort and in little time. You first select a theme, choose and modify the background picture, add and manipulate characters and so much more. There is narration opportunities on this site as well. However it cost money, about $50 a month. You would have to ask your principal if there is room in the budget for the program and then demonstrate that it would enhance the learning of your students. I myself could see using different (free) programs in the classroom that have most of the same capabilities. For example, Animoto where you can create your own video using pictures, sounds, text and then share it on mulitple forms of social media. Animoto puts personal pictures and videos into a meaningful order and they can be enhanced with sound and text that you design. I can definetly use this in the classroom to make a student year book. This way each student can have a free year book that they can access any time.

Twitter and Instagram

Articles: How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool (http://novemberlearning.com/educational-resources-for-educators/teaching-and-learning-articles/how-twitter-can-be-used-as-a-powerful-educational-tool/); Everything you need to know about teaching with Instagram (http://www.avatargeneration.com/2015/01/everything-you-need-to-know-about-teaching-with-instagram/) ; Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy (http://www.nerdynerdynerdy.com/2014/06/using-instagram-as-classroom-tool.html), David Truss: Pair of Dimes for Your Thoughts (http://pairadimes.davidtruss.com/twitter-edu/)

 

I have used Twitter throughout high school and college and I did not realize the educational impact it has had on me until I read some of these articles. Every time I see a new hashtag that is on everyone’s newsfeed I immediately find myself wanting to join in the conversation and to learn more about what is going on in the world. In “How Twitter Can Be Used as a Powerful Educational Tool” students were able to be a part of a world conversation for political events going on in Egypt. As an outsider watching this event it is hard to not be biased because you are seeing what the media displays. However, if you discuss with someone who is actually witnessing the event you get a more well rounded opinion of what is going on in the world. I think it is so cool that the concept of “pen pals” has been taken to a global perspective and takes little to no time at all.

For Instagram I think they would be great to use for morning meetings. You could enhance student’s abilities to describe a picture; maybe a lesson on adjectives. You could have students write a good heading that describes the events in the picture. You could have students share their accomplishments on Instagram as well! Just so many opportunities that I never would have thought of if I hadn’t read the articles “Everything you need to know about teaching with Instagram” & “Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy” & “David Truss: Pair of Dimes for Your Thoughts”. Just getting the conversation started with classroom teachers on how to integrate social media into lessons opens doors and innovates new ideas that we might overlook.

I have read most of my classmates blogs, and we all have a positive attitude towards integrating Twitter and Instagram into the classroom, however, we all agree that it must be in a meaningful way. Rachel Hunter mentioned that you have to keep the students engaged and interested (the social media that they relate to in their current schema) while having them master the content (how the social media is used in a way they are not used to).

Educating a Diverse Population of Students

Using Blogs with a Diverse Population of Students: ESL

I have found through my own use of blogs, one could adapt this form of technology to aid in the education of students with diverse learning needs: special needs, ESL, AIG, etc. Many times these students have difficulty with the mainstream curriculum, whether it be expressing their ideas or keeping up with the majority of the class. ESL students are inappropriately placed in special education classrooms when there is nothing lacking developmentally in their intelligence, but a lack in cultural knowledge. Through blogging, ESL students will have a chance to practice writing and communication skills while empowering their student writing voice. Student blogging can strengthen ESL student misunderstandings in written language and communication. Students can write in their blog about class assignments and daily routines that were fun or challenging and why, they can share interesting stories they read or stories they want to read. They can most importantly share their culture. ESL students, especially older students, have many cultural experiences that are great to share with other students, and having students discuss these ideas through a blog is a great way to integrate technology with culture.

I believe that the World, Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievement (https://www.worldpeacegame.org/thefilm/trailer) is a better example of 21st century learning than Minecraft in School (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZO_cs1DrbhA).

I believe this because of what I saw in the students in the videos. In the Minecraft video, the students were isolated, creating things independently, with not much collaboration, and the problems they were solving did not have a sense of urgency. The World Peace Game video had the students experimenting and analyzing real world problems as a group, each student was collaborating to ensure that their country would survive successfully. The students were also engaged, they were relating and applying the knowledge they were learning to the future problems they could face later in life. That, in my opinion, is the very definition of 21st century learning: Predicting problems that could occur in the future and using prior knowledge, collaboration, and innovation to solve them.

The Good and the Bad (http://edjudo.com/web-2-0-teaching-tools-links)

The Good: TED talks: http://www.ted.com/

TED talks provide insightful information from all over the world accessible to the general population. There are also stories and lectures that make difficult content, such as mental illness, easier to understand and easier to relate to than just reading an article. TED talks content ranges from history to science and everything in between, academic and non-academic.

The Bad: Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/

As wonderful as Pinterest is for teachers and adults to find new and innovative ideas on recipes, lessons, home decor and repair, fashion etc., it is not a site that is monitored for student usage. I am specifically referring to the students in 5th grade and younger. Pinterest could easily be used in the higher grades because the students probably have their own accounts. For Elementary school grades it is wise not to use this because there are advertisements everywhere and the links do not always connect to the destination they say they will.

In the classroom we can have a “Story of Culture” day in social studies. This is where we find a TED talk that encompasses one of the cultures of my students, and then students can write an entry in their classroom blog about what they found interesting and what they can relate to.

New technology in the classroom

Recently I have learned how to effectively use and care for a document camera in my classroom. The first and most important thing about caring for a document camera is to make friends with your school’s AV specialist (usually the librarian). The AV specialist is responsible for supplying and changing the bulbs in the document camera and the projector (the document camera does not work without the projector). Next, which may seem like common sense, read the manual on how to hook up and operate the document camera. If you learn how to correctly start up, shut down, and assemble the document camera then your colleagues will ask for your assistance and you may get the opportunity to hold workshops for your school teachers on how to effectively use this equipment. The document camera is a more advanced version of the overhead projector. The overhead projector would project an image from a transparency onto a screen so that the whole class could see. The document camera takes this one step further, it can display objects that are not transparent and it can show color. The document camera can zoom, has multidirectional camera positions, and video recording function. The document camera serves as a great teacher tool; one of my favorite uses is shared reading. You place a book onto the document camera and it is displayed through the projector so the entire class can see the words and illustrations. You can then have the teacher or a student come up and track the words as the class reads together. Shared reading is often done with Big Books that the whole class can see just because of the sheer volume of the book, but now you can use any book to do a shared reading, all thanks to the document camera.