Monday, September 29, 2008

Call Me Old-Fashioned

Call me old-fashioned. When I read the first sentence "The Internet will change the way teachers teach and students learn," I was irritated. Personally, I was all about the real library with real books, encyclopedias, and sources rather than the "virtual library." HOWEVER, this chapter helped me expand my views.

I never realized how wide-scale the Internet is. Yes, I know that it is huge and you can find just about anything you want on it, but for teaching purposes, it can help a student's work grow. They are still getting the same skills (critical thinking, problem-solving, written communication, and the ability to work collaboratively). It also helps the students write effectively for an audience other than the teacher. Maybe, this would motivate the student to write more towards that audience and enjoy writing, rather than writing for the sole purpose of an assignment for the teacher. The fact that a student can correspond to a student in a different country with a possibly different view or opinion is amazing! What struck me the most was Ted Nellen's story saying "but my classes have the special-ed kids, the bilingual learners, and the visual learners...and what the Web does is provide access to the world so that my kids can fly." Considering that I hope to work with students who are not your typical AP English students.

The other thing I took from this chapter was the different templates to make a website off of. It is no longer a chore or a hard task to make a website. Fill in a couple of lines, pick an organizational type, and you can have a website. Now that they are so readily available, anyone can do it, even a teacher without and experience or a student using it for the first time.

Overall about the class, I am finding it challenging but overall a great experience. Many things that we are learning are things that I would have never even had time to experience or learn. I see so much possibility it creating these different documents for future teaching and see so many more possibilities in making a website for our next project.

chapter 9: class websites

This chapter provided a lot of great information about the importance incorporating the internet and class websites. Creating a class website provides students with access to many beneficial resources and is an easy way to exchange information. I liked how the chapter broke down the important steps of creating a website. It is important to think about classroom goals before creating a website. I also liked the emphasis on getting feedback from people viewing your website. If there is a problem with your website, people will tell you about it. Also, I thought that using the internet to edit students work and taking advantage of telementors is a powerful tool. I found the checklist for developing websites to be helpful and very relevant to the process of creating a class website. So far I have learned so much from this class. I am beginning to feel more confident about my capabilities to incorporate technology into the classroom. I am able to create an interactive excel and a powerful powerpoint. I am looking forward to learning how to create a class website and how to use smart board because I believe these are both important tools for the classroom.

class websites

I thought this chapter was very interesting because it showed me the benefits of creating a class website, as well as how easy it was to incorporate them in the classroom. This was important for me to see because I am always complaining about how I am bad with computers...this showed me that I don't have to be good with computers to do this!
This chapter discussed things like templates and predesigned formats, so that people who don't know much about computers can make websites just as easily. It makes it easy for students as well as teachers.
I also thought it brought up a good point when it said that not just advanced kids can benefit from this; special-ed kids do, too. I liked the one teacher, Nellen, who discussed how the computer is an enabling machine for them, "It can work if it is done correctly," he says, "It approaches Dewey's 'learing by doing' and Gardner's eight intelligences. This one machine allows for all of that." I think it is good to know that there is technology out there that helps special-ed kids succeed better in school.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Using the Web

I am just amazed at technology these days. Am I seriously reading about a class website? This is crazy to me since in my school days this was unheard. This chapter makes the web seem so easy and beneficial too.

Easy: Anyone can use it and most people are familiar with the basic tools of the computer anyway. You could use ADDIE or Myschoolonline.com and it will guide you on how to create a website.

Beneficial: I really like the idea that students could incorporate mulitimedia tools in to their writings by using the web. Teachers could also test their students online by using Quia.com. With this website teachers could create interactive quizzes and then the results would be posted immediately-I thought that was so neat.

I really enjoyed reading the story about Ted Nellen and how he felt like people would benefit from posting their writings online because other people would be able to read the work. Most people write just so their information and opinions can be read. A class website provides the perfect opportunity for those students.

I just cannot believe I went from knowing the basics of word, excel, and the internet, and am now learning things I never knew existed. A class website seems really interesting and beneficial, but I don't even know the first step to creating one. So I'm anxious to see what I'll learn next.

Websites and Reflections

As the beginning of this chapter says, "the Internet is, at its heart, a community (89)." I completely agree with this statement. Although many of us may not want to admit it, we rely heavily on the Internet for communication with the people in our lives. I know that I spend massive amounts of time on Facebook catching up with my friends at different colleges. Well, someday the students that we teach are going to be using networking sites like Facebook too. I believe it is important to start out early with incorporating the Internet into our curriculum.

One great way to do this is by creating a class website. We are all on the Internet so much as it is, why not make it part of our homework? A class website can allow teachers to stay organized and have the students constantly know what is going on in the classroom. I know there are times when I have to do a certain project for a class and I wish I had some resources and help from my teachers. Well, a class website would be able to have these resources readily available to students. Also, a class website could cut down on the paper usage in classrooms and benefit the environment as well.

There are often times when I am sitting in classes trying to think about how I would personally make that class more exciting. Up until I took this course, I was unsure of how I would do that. But now that I am experimenting with different forms of technology, I realize that is quite simple to make lesson plans more interactive and entertaining for students. I have enjoyed learning about the possibilities of PowerPoint, and I even learned a few things from my classmates during the presentations. I honestly can't wait until I start implementing all of these ideas into my own classroom.

The Possibilities of Websites and Reflection on PowerPoint

As a future high school English teacher, I found this week's reading especially interesting and useful.  Going through high school with the use of the internet myself, I know how helpful it can be for the student.  This chapter expanded on and emphasized the numerous possibilities the internet provides to really aid in the classroom and the learning process as a whole.  

By creating a classroom website, a teacher can really show his/her students what all is available to them literally at their fingertips.  As we learned in putting together our PowerPoint presentations last week, there are so many resources out there - you just have to know where/how to look for them.  By finding some of the better resources and putting them together in one place, a teacher can illustrate the power of the internet to his/her students without the frustration they may feel if they are looking on their own (at least at first).

The text also emphasized how a website can be a great place for students to post their writing.  I definitely agree that some students have more motivation to write to the best of their ability when they are writing for a real audience.  Also, I know for me, there have been some instances when posting a blog (and reading other posts) on a course website has forced me to think more critically about something or see something in a way than I might not have otherwise.  

This course has already taught me so much about the possibilities of technology in the classroom.  In doing the multimedia presentation especially, I have begun to see how even though I knew the basics before, I now can bring something completely different into a classroom - something that is interactive and hopefully will be able to reach students on a deeper level.  I think learning to create my own classroom website will be especially helpful.  Even though there is a lot on the internet that is far from educational, teaching students the right way to use the internet is definitely worthwhile.  

Saturday, September 27, 2008

From PowerPoint to the Web

I thought the chapter we read was very interesting. Although I am nto planning on teaching highschool there were some great ideas that can be adpated to elementary school. For example having a class website. This wouldbe be an easy way to keep in touch with parents and students as well as have a place for studentsto check for homework assignments or extra activities. I really liked the ADDIE model of instructional design and the checklist for developing a website. Both of these seem to make it a lot easier then I thought to design and operate a web page.  I am excited to begin creating my own web page. 

I have already learned so much about PowerPoint. I never thought about all the ways it can enhance a classroom. Also when it combines with the web, you can post your presentations online for children to review later for tests. I love that they can be used again and again as well as with many of the presentation you can pick and choose which parts you want to use. 

As we discussed a little bit in class  I also believe this class should b a requirement int he education department.  Technology is changing the classroom so ALL teachers should know how to use it to their advantage and their students advantage. I have already learned so much I am much more confident in my technological abilities then I was before.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Powerpoint and Beyond

I liked the chapter we read in using technology in the English classroom because it provides an opportunity to see how what technologies children learn and use in the elementary classroom can be expanded on as they advance throughout their school careers. I agree that multimedia software is a great way for students to gather their main points and thoughts, and then eleborate on these points in a presentation. It eliminates the problem of having to think on the spot, and it gives students the opportunity to use innovative learning techniques. I though having student fill out a flow chart is a good idea, because it is essentially the same as creating an outline. That way students can use their time efficiently. I was unfamiliar with the copyright notice which students can use instead of citing all of their sources. I think this is especially efficient for the younger grades, but I still believe it is important for students to learn about plagarism and how to cite their sources properly. I liked the idea of having student reflect on their projects because it gives them ideas for improvement, etc, without the teachers feedback.

I really enjoyed working with the multimedia software. I had a lot of fun making my project, and there is still so much more I could do with it. There are endless possibilities of what you can do with the software, as we saw today in class. One of the things I find frustrating about software is that I know their are sometimes more efficient ways to do things but I just don't know what they are. Some of the other challenges I had with the project was determining what significant texts to include in the project that would be sufficient in conveying the main idea to the students. I had to decide if the picture was enough of an explanation or if text was needed. I also had trouble navigating the web to find reliable sources and typing in the keywords that would give me the best results for pictures. Despite some of the frustrations that come with learning about technology, I do get excited when I master something and I will be a more competant teacher because of it. I am glad I am taking this class and learning so much!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Chapter 10: Presentation Software

Throughout high school and over the past few years, I have used PowerPoint significantly more than I have used other programs, such as Excel.  I thought that I had a pretty good grasp on how to use the program.  After reading Chapter 10, however, I realized that once again, my knowledge of presentation software barely touches the surface of the possibilities these programs have to offer.  In the reading, Hamilton presents so many activities and assessments that can be done using these programs.  Many of these activities, including brochures and bookmarks, I would have thought to do in other programs - never PowerPoint.  I'm excited now to learn how to do them on presentation software instead.

While this book does focus on the elementary level, I am finding it very interesting and useful for me, a future high school teacher, as well.  Most of the ideas that I have read about so far could easily be adjusted for the high school student/curriculum.  In this chapter, for example, the text mentions creating portfolios and character webs using presentation software.  Both of these projects would be very applicable to the English classroom, no matter what the grade level.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kudos of Presentation Software

Even just reading the first few paragraphs of Chapter 10 bring up ideas and show that powerpoints, etc. are great tools for using in the classroom. They are creative ways to introduce new material or outline key ideas about a new topic. They can also generate TOUGHTFUL questions, encourage higher-level thinking, motivate students to participate, and stimulate questions and discussion among students. What more could you want. The fact that presentation software is so interactive is wonderful because it involves students more than a lecture or reading a chapter in a book.

Once again, I think that the activities that Hamilton describes are very helpful for beginning teachers. My favorite activity was the visual peotry described on page 142. It uses technology to make something sometimes seen as boring and redundant more fun and interactive. The ability to format text and add graphics helps make the work more visually appealing and more fun to present throughout the classroom.

In class through the past weeks, what has helped me the most and been most informative are the fact sheets about each processor. Many times, we dont have time to "play around" with technology, but with instructions to new functions on each helps us out. I do not think that I would be learning as much if we were not given time to actually experience this.

Presentations

Since middle school, I have been using Power Point presentations for my classes. Until I read this chapter, however, I did not realize the "intuitive nature and versatility of the software application" (125). I never realized you could create so many different projects with Power Point. I basically always thought of Power Point as a slide show generator, but it is much more.

During classes, I would usually get angry when my classmates would create slide shows for discussion but use a lot of text on them. This chapter really enforced the idea of "presentations with only visuals force students to practice inferential skills as they wrestle to understand how what they see relates to what they are learning" (126). Power Point also allows you to creatively reach students with different learning styles. As stated, "the appropriate use for presentation software in a school is limited only by a teacher's creativity" (126).

I really enjoyed all the projects that this book gave such as bookmarks, cards for holidays, photo albums and trading cards. I look forward to implementing some of these ideas into my project for this section of the course, and learning all the tricks of Power Point. I learned a lot about Excel already, and I look forward to enhancing my learning on Power Point.

Presentation Software

I started using PowerPoint when I was in middle school, but I still don't think I am proficient in all of its uses. Just the other day I made a photo essay for my teaching science education course, and we had the option to add music to the picture slide show. I had completely forgotten how to implement this skill, so my presentation was slightly lacking. I look forward to learning about the basic elements of PowerPoint and how I can incorporate them into my classroom. I thought the book had a lot of neat ideas about how to use presentation software. I liked the section on effective instructional slide shows which lays out the basics of a good slide show because I think that some teachers do not know the proper ways to present information on presentation software and yet, they still use the software. This section is also helpful to me as I think about using presentation software in my classroom. I think it is important to remember that the PowerPoint should enhance the subject matter being taught and successfully produce learning. If used incorrectly the presentation could distract students from gaining an understanding of the subject matter or not produce the best option for a teaching method. I love the idea of having parents view their students work in some way or another. I think this is a great way to encourage parents to get involved with their students learning by talking about the projects and to make students feel proud of their accomplishments. I liked many of the presentation software ideas in the book, such as the postcards, trading cards, dictionaries, and visual poetry. I think these ideas in particular are excellent ways to get students thinking in different ways and to encourage the sharing of students ideas/projects.

I have learned a lot in this class so far, and I am eager to learn more. I enjoyed the unit on spreadsheets, and I am excited to learn more about PowerPoint and its uses.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Presentation Software

This chapter was very informative and I was amazed at all the ideas for using presentation software in the classroom. I thought it was a great point that slide shows with pictures to generate students thinking. Also, slide shows invite student participation and keep students engaged. I liked the idea of creating a portfolio slide show. This enables students to track their own progress and share it with parents and other students. For younger students, I thought the acrostic poem would be a beneficial tool to introduce students to the power point program and tools. I will use the postcard and trading card idea in my future classroom. These projects can be applied to any subject and are very engaging for students. I was surprised at how many project ideas this chapter presented. I am looking forward to learning more about power point and creating some of the projects that were suggested in the chapter.
So far I am amazed with all I have learned. I never thought I would be able to create projects with excel such as the interactive quiz.  I look forward to learning more and becoming proficient with power point.

Presenting Presentations

I am in awe of how many things you can do with software like PowerPoint. I would have never thought of many of these activities or the way it can be so helpful to students in the classroom. 

I really liked Hamilton's idea of using instructional slide shows to, "outline the key ideas or use visuals to stimulate questions and discussion among students," (125).  I never thought to use PowerPoint int his way. By creating a presentation where the images are large, you limit the text, and skip the glitz as Hamilton says it seems like it would be a great way to open a unit.  

I really enjoyed the ideas for the portfolios, bookmarks, and acrostic. But my favorite idea was the class shows and to have them running at parent teacher conference or to hyperlink each child's name so the parents can see each child's individual work. 

I never knew that so much could be done with Excel so I am excited to being learning about PowerPoint


Friday, September 12, 2008

Presentation Software

Once again, I was familiar with powerpoint but this chapter showed me a variety of activities I could do with powerpoint, and I am amazed. I love the idea of portfolios because it gets the parents involved. If you burn a copy for each family then the parents can view their childs' progress throughout the year. I also love the idea of creating a game such as "Jeopardy" out of a powerpoint because not only are games fun for the students, but it is a good way to review for a test, or even just use as a way to test them on information they have learned. I thought the homophone idea was extremely beneficial because students seem to struggle with that a lot and this would provide them not only with an auditory aid, but also a visual aid with pictures representing the different words.
Each chapter I read provides me with more and more ideas about the use of technology in a classroom. I feel as if there is no subject where technology could not be used. I cannot wait to view all the activities that powerpoint can provide.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Chapter 10

I thought this chapter had a lot of useful information for the classroom. I think presentation software is a very effective way for students to do different and interesting kinds of projects, but besides that, it is also a good way for teachers to present information in a different way. Learning to use Power-Point is one of the first things I remember learning in our computer class in junior high.

Hamilton brought up a good point on page 130 when discussing an interactive slide show: "The students enjoy the activity without thinking of it as a test." Making slide shows in which students have to complete things is a good way to evaluate what they have learned without making them take a test.

I also liked the idea of making the bookmarks. It allows students to show what they know by presenting it in a concise project. It does not have to take a lot of time, but it allows them to show their creativity and summarizing skills while creating something that they may use.

The dictionary and idiom collections were also good ideas. It is a way for students to learn vocabulary and expressions that they may not otherwise learn. The idea of the "Dictionary Day" where students dress up as a word is really cute.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Excel and Ch. 11: Databases & Spreadsheets

I am so excited about what I have learned already in this course.  Before last week, the only thing I had ever known how to do in Excel was input numbers into the spreadsheet and make a graph.  Now I am able to make an entire interactive quiz that incorporates many features that I had no idea even existed.  When I showed my quiz to one of my roommates, who is also in the education program, she was just as amazed as I was and wanted me to show her how to do it so that she could possibly use the program when she is student teaching and/or in her future classroom.  I never thought that Excel would be very useful in the English classroom.  Now, however, I can see that with quizzes such as the one I made, charts, timelines, webbing, graphs and I'm sure so much more, the possibilities are endless to really engage the class.

The reading for this week was also very interesting.  I agree with the text about introducing databases and spreadsheets to students early.  I think programs like Excel clearly provide many useful tools that students can utilize if they are aware of them and know how to use them.  With so many ways of using these programs, I don't think it would be very difficult to find a way to incorporate databases and spreadsheets into the curriculum at every age level and every subject in one way or another.      

Monday, September 8, 2008

Databases and Spreadsheets

I really liked chapter 11 because it gave me many more ideas about how to use a spreadsheet. The only things I now know how to do with Excel are those that we learned in class, so it is very helpful to incorporate more ideas into my knowledge. I was impressed by all of the functions of Excel. I was sure they existed, but I certainly did not know how to use them. I think the quiz is an important assessment tool that I will use in the future. When I finished my quiz, I showed it to some of my family members, and they were surprised that I had done that in Excel, especially since some of them knew a lot about computers. It was fun to expose them to something new! I was more familiar with the functions of word processing, so I was excited to learn something new when we got to spreadsheets.

I agree with the book that students need to learn how to use databases because they become important tools throughout a student's grade levels. Personally I do not know the most efficient way to search a database because I never know which words to incorporate in the search. I think it is important for students to be able to find what they are looking for on the internet. I also think it is important that they learn how to use the internet safely and where to find reputable sources, and what better place to learn these things than at school where you will use them.

I like that they suggested using spreadsheets to teach older students about money management because that is something you can use throughout your life. That is an important life skill that students should learn, and it is nice to find a resource that can help you stay organized and on top of your finances. Last year, I did a project where we used Excel to make a budget sheet, and I added all the numbers up with a calculator. It would have been efficient to know that a formula could have been used instead. I also like the idea of an using Excel to make a timeline. That way the students have a hands on approach to history, and they can incorporate their own ideas and creativity to the assignment through pictures. I also like the idea of having all of the students graph about a subject, such as the weather example in the book, and track the trend later in the year. I think the chapter had a lot of useful ideas, and I can't wait to learn more.

Ch 11

I found this chapter to be extremely interesting and informative. Hamilton mentions in this chapter that teachers are hesitant to use spreadsheets and databases ,and most adults are actually unfamiliar with the tools themselves. I think this was the case with my teachers because I was never properly introduced to these programs. I only knew how to use the basic tools because I taught myself. This is really disappointing to me because there are so many benefits to using spreadsheets and databases in a classroom. I especially liked the timeline idea because a student could incorporate pictures into their timeline, along with hyperlinks that would provide them with more information about an event or person. Of course the use of timelines is not new, but I think being able to associate pictures with an event would be beneficial to a student who learns better with a visual aid.
I think most of the tools discussed in this chapter are a good way to "spice" up a lesson plan. In the two weeks of taking this class, my eyes have been opened to the possibility of using technological tools with a variety of subjects. I am just amazed at all I have learned already, especially with spreadsheets. When Professor Nillas informed us that we would be using spreadsheets all day in class, I was curious as to what she could teach us in this basic,boring program that is mostly designed for financial reasons. I was shocked to discover it was far from basic. I couldn't believe we could actually create interactive quizzes with combination tabs using a spreadsheet. I am so thankful I am taking this class because I do not want to be one of those teachers who do not think technological tools such as databases should not be taught in the elementary schools. I cannot wait to use what I am learning; I think it will make learning more fun for my students, and essentially make me a better teacher.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Databases and Spreadsheets

I agree with Emily that chapter 7 offered many more beneficial ideas for the classroom. However, I still believe that knowing how to use databases and spreadsheets are important skills to have. As I read chapter 11, I realized that I was not exposed to many of these skills until high school. I have always thought that databases such as library records and web search engines are very helpful and I agree that they should be incorporated into elementary level learning and research. I also thought that the acrostic poem idea was creative and a great way for younger students to become familiar with using spreadsheets.
I thought the most effective idea presented in this chapter was using spreadsheets to learn about income and expenses. This is a very important skill for students to develop, so why not introduce managing money using spreadsheets in elementary school. As students mature and eventually start working, they will already possess skills to carefully manage and keep track of their money.
This week, I was surprised by the many uses of excel spreadsheets. I was always somewhat intimidated of working with spreadsheet because I wasn't confident in my ability. After this week, I am much more comfortable using spreadsheet and I even am aware of tools I didn't know existed. I am now able to create interactive quizzes that give immediate feedback. These skills will be very helpful in the future because I will be able to present my students with various methods of learning and testing.  I will also be able to expose my students to technology starting at the elementary school level so they can begin to develop their own technological skills.

Databases and Spreadsheets

Chapter 11

I agree with Emily that chapter 7 was much more informative, but that there were many good ideas in this chapter. When I was in elementary school, I did not use databases or spreadsheets, so I had not even thought of the possibility of using these tools in the elementary classroom.

One of the ideas that I thought would be beneficial for elementary students was using spreadsheets to teach money management. I think it is a wonderful idea to teach this to students at this age, and spreadsheets are a really creative and convenient way to do this.

Spreadsheets are also really good for making graphs. I remember making graphs by hand in elementary school, and I think using spreadsheets makes it easier for students to be organized and accurate when making graphs. It also gives them an opportunity to be more creative.

Another thing that I appreciated about this article was the "resources" box on page 147. I know that those websites will come in handy.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

The Wonderful World of Databases and Spreadsheets

Although I found the first chapter we read much more informative, I still thought that the chapter about spreadsheets and databases was interesting. As Hamilton said, "some would question whether these two tools are appropriate for elementary students" (145). I am guilty of this as well. I was skeptical when we began discussing spreadsheets being used in the elementary classrooms besides using them for math purposes.

Little did I know, databases and spreadsheets are used for many other things than mathematics. Still, I think my favorite part about Hamilton's book in general is the great ideas that are presented in each section. I love discovering new and interesting ways to use this technology! Because I am an elementary education major, I think the activity that struck me the most was acrostic poems. I loved these as a child and never realized that by using spreadsheets, much creativity and thought can be put into them. I was also interested in the way that classrooms used spreadsheets to track their reading by genre (English) while also using it to make a graph of their findings (Mathematics).

Overall, spreadsheets and databases are very functional and can be used in many different ways in the elementary classroom.

Using Databases and Spreadsheets

As I read Chapter 11, I realized how little I really know about databases and spreadsheets. Hamilton states, "databases and spreadsheets receive the least attention and use" (145). This statement was completely correct for my grade school and high school. I adequately learned how to use word processing and multimedia presentations, but we never specifically focused on spreadsheets for classroom projects. I had also never stopped to think about how simple it is for students to learn how to use databases. The word database sounds very complex and confusing, but it can be as easy as teaching students how to use Web search engines.

Another aspect that I love about this book is how many resources and ideas for lesson plans it gives you. I especially enjoy the Citation Tools because I had never heard of any of those websites. They will not only benefit my future students, but also myself as a student. As I read about the ideas it gave for Acrostics, I remember doing a similar project in grade school. The only difference for me was that we simply did it on paper. This book gave me the idea to turn Name Poems (the project we did in grade school) into a spreadsheet project. Then the students would not only be using English but also Technology to fulfill this project. Continuing this book, I plan on coming up with many more plans for future activities for my students.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Databases and Spreadsheets

There were two things I really enjoyed in this chapter. 

The first thing was they discussed using and teaching students to use automated databases. I agree that this is so important.  A lot of school libraries are databases and teaching children to use these as effectively as possible will better their research skills.  Teaching children to research also means teaching them, "skills for selecting, evaluating, and citing resources," (146). I think this is so important. There is so much on the internet today that is not credible or has been plagiarized from another site. Teaching these skills and enforcing them will help students for the rest of their lives. The book provided a website "Searching The Net" that sounded great for teaching  students about web searching. 

The second thing was using the Spreadsheets. We have already learned so much in class that I never knew was possible with Excel. But my favorite part in the book was the idea for the middle school survey.  Whether it is 5Th grade going to middle school or 8Th grade going to high school there are always worries and rumors. For example a large concern is always: Do the older kids stuff you into lockers?   By doing this activity the teacher is able to teach math skills, excel skills, english skills and calm concerns all at the same time. For these reasons I thought doing this graph was a great idea for those students who will be changing schools very shortly. 


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Technology in the elementary classroom

Since I could not figure out how to become a contributor or post my own blog I have decided to leave a comment that is rely my responce. I like the reading, and I thought the all of the examples of for using technology were helpful. I would not have thought of that many ways to incorporate technology into the classroom. I feel like I have learned a lot in just one week, but since I can't figure out how to blog yet, it seems I could still learn much more. I was excited to learn how to use the editing feature on Word and how to insert a hyperlink into the document.

I was surprised when the reading mentioned the early ages that students are being taught to type. I don't have any recollection of typing in the school setting until middle school. I did have a typing program at home also, but I did not actually learn how to type efficiently until I took keyboarding class my freshman year of high school. I think it is extremely important to teach students to type, even if they can not master the skill at such an early age. I agree with the book that the word processor can be used even if the skill of typing has not been perfected.

I think it is important to balance the use of technology and the use of paper and pencil writing. One reason I think this is because the students we will teach have grown up using instant messanger and texting, so they already have an idea of typing. They also are probably in the habit of using shorthand when they are typing, and I think writing in school will help break that habit. They can learn when to use formal and informal language. I was excited to hear that teachers are trying to incorporate so much technology into the "standard" school curriculum.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Chapter 7

I thought Ch. 7 was extremely interesting because it talked of activities and ideas with technology that I have never heard of. I think it would be so neat to try to incorporate digital pictures from field trips into lesson plans and homework assignments. I also really enjoyed the virtual email idea. These different activities allow the students to become more familiar with technology which is beneficial since techonolgy is becoming a huge part of our everyday lives. This chapter also discussed pros and cons of technology which was thought provoking. In the section on word processing, I thought the point on how it is easier for teachers to focus on the content of a paper when in print versus having to read sloppy handwriting was really important. I could see how using technology would be beneficial for the student and teacher in that instance since sometimes a student may get a low grade due to the handwriting. However, I could see how it could harm a student who is not as creative with word art and borders who would receive a lower grade than a student who tried to make their report fancy.
This chapter made me realize how it is always going to be a constant battle on whether or not to use technology in a lesson plan. I understand that as a teacher you want your students to be knowledgeable with technology and computers since it will play a huge role throughout their lives; however, as a teacher I want to make sure technology is not being used as a "crutch". I would not want computers to take away from a student learning how to write, spell, draw, or even do math. It is still necessary for students to learn how to do the basics without the assistance of a computer.
I have already learned so much in this class even though all we've gone over was blogging and microsoft word. I am anxious to learn more complex techniques that will hopefully be beneficial in the classroom setting.

Handwriting and Keyboarding

Chapter 7 in "It's Elementary!" was very interesting. There were two things in particular that stuck out to me. 
The first thing was the handwriting bias. Although I believe writing with paper and pencil is important word processing can show teachers another side of students who normally have that biased placed on their work. Hamilton states that, "In hand-written text, a paper with precisely formed letters and straight margins will tend to be viewed as better writing then a paper with barely legible scrawl and messy corrections. the tidier paper suggests more orderly thinking, whether true or not. Typed text removes this bias, " (90). I completely agree with this, because I was this student. I had horrible handwriting and I remember writing shorter pieces because it took me longer to make each letter perfect. So although handwriting is important it can put a lot of pressure on students. 
Secondly, I really understood what Hamilton was talking about when she said, "The commitment to keyboarding instruction varies greatly from teacher to teacher," (91). I didn't learn to type at a reasonable speed until high school because keyboarding was like this in my school. I wish there was the time in school to devote more time to keyboarding. I feel it is an important skill that kids miss out on. I was glad there was a list of website suggestions. 
Lastly, I have really enjoyed what we have learned in class so far. I never knew you could do those thing with Microsoft Word. I cannot wait to learn about the smart board because they are becoming more and more prevalent in the classroom.
I thought that the most interesting reading so far was the one about all the different things teachers can do with technology. It really made me realize how much technology is needed in this field. There were a lot of ideas that I think I can use in the classroom.
I also thought the reading in the "It's Elementary" book was intereting. It brought up the fact that even though technoloy is changing so fast, if people learn today's technology, they can better adapt to the new technolgy. I agree with this statement. I feel it was much easier for me to learn about the word processing skills we learned in class on Thursday than it would be for my Grandparents, who just got their first computer a few weeks ago. Because I have had the background word processing, I can adapt to learn the new things easier than them.
The discussion about when to begin keyboard instruction was also interesting to me. Although I learned how to type on a computer program at home when I was young, I don't think I had any school training in keyboarding until junior high. I think it is necessary to teach students this skill at a young age because I believe that they can learn better when they are young. My father never had any keyboarding instruction when he was a kid, and he is still one of the slowest typers I know. I think the sooner children learn to type, the more things teachers can do with them in the classroom with technology.
I have learned a lot in this class already about things I never knew about before. I think this class will be very beneficial for me, and I hope I can use many of the things I have learned in the future.

The Pros and Cons

While reading, I primarily focused in the first few pages about word processing and pencil and paper writing are interchangeable. I agree with many of the arguments that Hamilton makes, however I feel that there is an importance in pencil and paper writing as well.

"Keyboarding give instant feedback to students about spelling errors and provides options for corrections." (Hamilton, 89)
I completely agree with this. I think that word processing is a great resource to aid students
who have a hard time spelling and whose spelling errors distract from the goal of their
writing.

"Word processing eases the editing process as well." (Hamilton, 89)
Features like the thesaurus help add interest and flow to many students' writing. Along with
this students also find it easier to move sentences, paragraphs, and re-organize their work

"When every piece of writing has the same legibility, a teacher, parent, or student can focus on the worlds and ideas without the bias that handwriting, particularly poor handwriting, introduces." (Hamilton, 90)
I do not completely agree with this statement. I agree that it is a hard task to grade a paper
that is not legible and hard to read, but where will a student get the practice to improve their
manuscript if it is never relied on. Word processing cannot be the end all, be all. Pencil and
paper communication, I think, will always be the first, and foremost important mode of
writing.

During the first week of class, I did not intend on experiencing so many things. Already, I have learned about features in Microsoft Word that I didn't know existed. I would have never known that one could make corrections and add comments directly to a Word document. I can see this definitely helped me in the future; the ability to track my changes on the computer will be very convenient. Furthermore, I am excited to learn many new things about Word and other processors. With this class, along with the short readings we have completed already, I can see myself becoming more experienced and capable of bringing a new perspective towards technology to my classroom in the future.

To Keyboard or Not To Keyboard..

As I read Chapter 7 from Hamilton's book, the discussion that stuck out at me the most was the argument over when to start keyboarding classes for children. When I was in elementary school, we started keyboarding in Kindergarten. We worked on the correct placement of our fingers, and using what we were learning, we would play educational typing games in computer class. To this day, I appreciate learning how to keyboard at such a young age. Therefore, I think it is important to begin teaching the ideas of keyboarding to younger students. Of course, you cannot expect every kindergarten student to be able to successfully type a sentence using home row keys, but as long as you attempt to teach them the proper techniques, it will help them be able to learn more on their own. Since our society is technology-dependent these days, it is important to being teaching early.

Also as I reflect on this past week in this class, I realize how little I truly know about word processing. I never knew about tracking changes or adding comments to a paper. In previous classes, these tricks would have been very useful to me. Since I just learned them, I plan on passing along my knowledge to my friends because some of them are less computer savvy than I am. I look forward to learning more tricks to word processing and other programs as well. I see this class not only making me a better teacher, but also a better student.

After one week...

After just two class periods, I can already see how big of an impact this course is going to have on me as both a student and a future teacher.  I am already learning more about things I was familiar with but didn't have much practice using, such as the editing tools on Word.  Features such as these will be very helpful in the future, if the situation is right to use them.

The readings for this week were also very interesting.  I was surprised, for instance, at how much technology and computer use is coming into the elementary classroom (compared to my experience as a student).  While I'm sure it varies from school to school, technology is being introduced to kids when they are younger and younger.  I suppose this is a good thing in today's society that is so centered around being technologically literate; however, reliance on technology at a young age does make me somewhat nervous.  I think it's important that children still learn how to communicate successfully without technology.  If kids rely too heavily on communication through computers, for example, they may not develop the necessary oral communication skills that are so vital.  The text mentioned spell check and how that feature is good for students who get "bogged down looking for errors" and "lose focus of their main goal" (Hamilton 89).  I agree that some students can lose their focus when worrying about mechanical issues; however, those issues are an important aspect of learning language as well.

I'm not saying that exposure to technology is bad.  On the contrary, I think it provides many opportunities for learning.  I just think as future teachers, we cannot lose sight of the fact that everyone has a different learning style.  Some students may not benefit as much as others from doing things on a computer screen.  I know that personally, most of the time I still have to write things in front of me with a pen/pencil before I turn to my computer.  We just have to remember that providing variety and options in the classroom is key.