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.