Thursday, December 3, 2009

Managing the Classroom with One Computer

This chapter talked about different ideas to effectively incorporate computer use in an elementary classroom, when only one or two computers are available in that classroom. In the second grade classroom I help out in, only one computer is available in the classroom and that is meant to be the teacher's computer. The rest of the computers are located in the IMC. They even have a special time every week that they visit the IMC to do projects and learn how to type. I was never at the school when they went to IMC, but I also never saw the teacher incorporate much technology in her lessons when I was around. The strategies in this chapter are very important and useful to know so that every child can be associated with technology and how computers work.

It was also said in the chapter that these options for managing the classroom with one computer should match your teaching style. One that I really liked was called reward time. This is for students who complete their work early. This will motivate less productive students to finish their work on time to get the reward of having computer time. I also thought that a rotating schedule works well too. Students are allowed a half hour on the computer to do educational activities, then they are responsible for handing the computer off to the next student on the list. This way, everyone gets equal time on the computer and the teacher doesn't have to intervene. The only problem I saw with this is that it may disrupt other lessons that are going on at the time. It is important for students to have quality experiences with technology, even if not much is available. These ideas on managing the classroom with one or two computers really were interesting and useful.

Managing the Classroom with One Computer

This section was interesting to read about because in my current field placement, there are only 2 computers available in the classroom and 1 is meant to be the teacher's computer. This reading gave many different examples of how to adapt to having only 1 computer in the classroom. A few that I found to be most useful and beneficial in an elementary classroom were using the computer as an activity center for one or more students at a time, reward time on the computers, and work completion time. I've seen my cooperating teaching use her computers as an activity center during their reading stations where they can listen and view books online.
Using a computer as reward time is another good idea because not every student has internet or even computer access at home. Allowing students to do fun educational activities as a reward can motivate students to complete their work efficiently and on time.
Using the computers for students to complete work that they haven't finished can also be a good use of limited computer access. If there is work that students can do on the computer, it may be more efficient to have various students finish their assignment using the computer.
I think that it is unfortunate that not every classroom has more than one computer or a computer at all, but as this reading states, it is important that teachers make the best use of the equipment they have and continue to implement technology into their lessons.

Reality of Using Technology in the Classroom

Basically, the chapter was set up with excuses for not using technology in the classroom or for why it would be difficult to use technology. Each excuse is given solutions. The excuse that stuck out to me was "I already have lesson plans that address the standards that I'm required to teach. Why should I start using technology?" I think that this is one of the biggest reasons why many do not use technology in the classroom and it's no excuse!
The book says that if your teaching strategies seem to be working, "it is probably better to leave well enough alone." I disagree. I think that there is always room to improve, especially now that there are so many ways to include technology in a lesson.
I feel like students now-a-days are so accustomed to using technology, through video or computer games, that incorporating it into a lesson will be beneficial.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Reality of Technology

This chapter discusses the reality of teachers using technology resources in the classroom. There is a wide variety of tools a math teacher can use to express a new idea, help students visualize a new idea, or manipulate something and see the outcome. Throughout this chapter, the author discusses different obstacles a teacher may face when trying to incorporate technology in the classroom. A limited number of computers, an outdated system, and problems with the internet are all common problems a teacher may face. The author gives plenty of ways to overcome these challenges. Over the course of this semester, I have not only learned the importance of incorporating technology in the classroom, but how beneficial it can be to incorporate different types of technology. Doing so can help many different types of learners. Year to year, the teacher should reflect on which methods worked, which did not, and what changes need to be made in order to offer the best learning experience possible to each student in the classroom.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Photostories and Webquests

Webquests and PhotoStory are two projects that I was very excited to get started on, but I was not sure if they would benefit students and help them learn as well as much as others. I had never even heard of either of these forms of technology, and I definitely was never exposed to them in high school or elementary school. After making them, I feel that I would have learned certain topics much easier and faster if I had been exposed to them. PhotoStory is almost like watching an educational movie for students, but it keeps their attention more. Elementary students would love to see bright, bold digital photos set to music or a voice. I feel like these images would stay in their heads longer than a lecture would. PhotoStories also really benefits auditory learners. PhotoStories and Webquests are also much more fun and interactive for children than just listening to a lecture. Webquests would be very helpful for students to do in groups and therefore enhance cooperative learning. I really enjoyed being exposed to these projects and look forward to trying them out in my classroom.

Photostory/WebQuests

I feel like that both Photostory and WebQuests are helpful tools when it come to teaching. The Photostory allows the students to become engaged through visual interpretations whereas the WebQuest allows the students to get their hands dirty in the information and apply the concepts necessary to complete the task. I think using both of them in a classroom, not just one, can really the range of students you are academically impacting because you are using tools that help a wide variety of students.

I really enjoyed working on the WebQuest activity because I feel for teaching math, it is a great way to implement group projects. It creates a chance for the students to work together as a team and really get to understand the mathematical concepts. I feel like Photostory, on the other hand, would be harder to use in a math class because the best way to learn math is to physically do the problems. I think the Photostory can be helpful in other subjects, but I find it difficult for students to really take a part in a Photostory activity.

Photostory and Webquest: A Reflection

Photostory:

This project was especially enjoyable to make. I had fun finding pictures on my topic and then inserting them into photostory to create a sort of slide show. Recording my voice was a little tough, since I wanted it sound right, but I eventually got it to work. While creating my photostory, I thought about how useful and beneficial something like this could be in a classroom, especially with elementary students. Photostory is a device that would be fun and hold their attention as well as be educational.

Webquest:

Webquest was fairly difficult. Finding the webquest and deciding which parts of it to modify was easy, but putting on the wiki site is where I hit some rough spots. Some times when I saved a page, it wouldn't save all my modifications. There were other times when I was trying to enhance the font or insert a picture, I had a hard time doing so or it would mess up the entire page. Although I little bit of a hard time with the project, I think that if done well, a webquest can be fun and educational as long as it is kept simple.

Reflecting on WebQuest & Photostory

Photostory
I enjoyed working on this particular assignment because it incorporated various technological resources. I had previously never created my own photostory and I now feel confident in my ability to do so and use photostory when teaching at the elementary level. I think that younger students would really enjoy an educational photostory because it presents accurate information in an engaging way. I think that photostory is a good resource because it provides students with an audio and visual learning opportunity. Overall, I liked my experience working with photostory and could see myself using it as a resource as a future teacher.

WebQuest
Modifying a WebQuest I found to be more challenging. It was difficult for me to find a WebQuest that I could modify and that had up to date website links. It was also challenging to choose one specific thing to focus on and alter. I think that WebQuests are a great way for students to learn via technology, but they may struggle navigating through the assignment. I tried to break down the WebQuest that I chose so that the assignment and information for students would be clearer and easily accessible. I experienced some frustrations working on wikispaces in the way in which I wanted the format, but I feel that the modifications that I made are appropriate and allow special needs students to have the same learning opportunity through technology.

Reflections

I really like that we modified a webquest rather than created a new one. This gave us an opportunity to work on different skills than the other projects in our class. I don't usually imagine myself teaching students with learning disabilities, but the fact is that we will all be working with students at all levels. Thus, it is important to be prepared. I need to remember that students with learning disabilities will be in average level classes and we want to do our best to help them succeed. I feel that we can use the techniques that we did on the Webquest project and apply it to other aspects of our teaching. For example, if we ever make a Powerpoint we should be sure not to make it overwhelming with too many words. We should try to be as clear and concise as possible so that every student has equal opportunity to learn.

I like the idea of using Photostory in the classroom, yet I still feel it will be a bit difficult to successfully incorporate them into a high school math class. I now understand how we can do it, I just have to find appropriate times to use them. I believe I would use them as an introduction to a lesson to get students intrigued, rather than as a learning tool.

PhotoStory and WebQuest experience

PhotoStory Experience: The PhotoStory took a lot of time to complete. It required me to think outside of the box and be more creative than I'm accustomed to. I was extremely frustrated in the beginning of the project because I could not think of any way to make a PhotoStory about statistics. However, after talking through ideas with Nillas and A LOT of thinking, I feel like I came up with a good PhotoStory that presents concepts in a fun way. This project made me realize that I can portray math concepts in more ways than simply writing an equation on the board. It has finally set in that I can use technology in the classroom.

WebQuest Experience: Although I would have liked to make my own WebQuest, I think that modifying an existing one was a great introduction. I now know what I don't want to do when I make my own WebQuest. I love that we were able to incorporate teaching students with learning disabilities into this class. In previous education classes, we spent time reading about learning disabilities, but not actually applying what we know. I now have a better understanding of how to teach to students who have different strengths and weaknesses. Just like PhotoStory making a WebQuest will be time consuming, but well worth it.

Photostory and Webquest

Photostory: I thought the photostory was a very creative way to introduce a new topic. I did "Geometry in Sports," and I feel this story would really help students get excited about a new topic. When we watched other students' photostories in class, we all were genuinely interested in each topic. Everyone had a creative way to express a new idea, and it was very entertaining. The program was very easy to use with very few complications. I could really see myself using this program to introduce a new lesson in a classroom some day. It is something you can use, see how students react, and modify it year to year for clarification.

WebQuest: The WebQuest was also a very fun project. Finding one to modify was fun because we were exposed to all the different kinds of projects a teacher can do. There is a wide variety of Webquests that already exist, and each student in our class went about modifying them in a creative way. This project differed from the others we have done because we had to adapt the project to suit the needs of a learning disabled student. The project introduced us to different things to keep in mind when creating projects for a classroom filled with students of different abilities. It will be fun in my future classroom to create my own WebQuest, and not only modify an existent project. It was interesting to look at everyone's projects and imagine how each would work in a classroom.
WebQuest
WebQuest was a little bit more difficult than the past programs to use. It was frustrating to have to deal with the problems with spacing. I also had issues with the fact that I added my Graphic Organizer, but when I came back t was blank. I also had issues changing the fonts of some of my sections. For some reason, certain sections would not change, and others would change but not stay. Once I started to figure it out, it was nice to use. There is so much room to be creative with WebQuest, and it's nice to be able to put something out there so that other people can hopefully look at it.

PhotoStory
The PhotoStory Project was a fun project. I especially enjoyed it because I was able to use my own pictures and experiences in it. Since I did a social studies lesson on California, I used the pictures from my trip with my dad two years ago. It is a lot easier to create projects when they have personal meaning to you. This software was great to use to. It was fairly easy to use, and I did not have any major problems with this project. It is nice because there are so many great features that are available for use. Adding music and recording our own information was a great addition to the project. I would definitely like to use this program again!

WebQuest and iMovie

I definitely enjoyed the iMovie project more than the WebQuest one. They were both very helpful in terms of what I can use in my classroom someday, but i Movie was just much easier to format and use altogether. The hardest thing about both of the projects was finding something in English that would be applicable. There are only so many different genres of books and literature, and making everything different is difficult. However, I am grateful that I found something that worked.

WebQuest is a project that is very useful in the classroom. Although I don't think that I will necessarily be using many of them in my own classroom, doing this project helped me learn the time and thought process that goes into a full project for students. That lesson itself will be great once I get into my own classroom. It also demonstrated the thought that needs to go into making a project work for every student. Some of the students would understand a brief outline, but others don't. Therefore I am very thankful that I got to experience using both the WebQuest and iMovie/Photostory software.

Photostory and Webquests

Concerning photostory, I really enjoyed working with the program. I know that in the future I will use it in order to create possible lessons or even for personal photo projects. I think it's a fun program to work with that has great potential to be a strong aid for a class in any subject.

Concerning webquests, I think that when teachers create them, they should be a little more realistic about the questions and expectations that go along with them. I understand that is a main reason why modifications were a necessary part of this project. But it is helpful to know that webquests can be modified depending on class needs.

Both of these technologies will be very helpful in future class settings in order to help instruct and clarify information. They make learning fun and engaging, which is extremely important for any classroom.

Photostory and Webquest

I really enjoyed creating a photo story. I have seen photo stories used during my observation hours and I have found them to be very effective tools. It is a creative way to present information and it keeps the students engaged.

I also thought that creating an LD webquest was an excellent learning experience. It's important to remember to break information down into steps for students so that seemingly difficult concepts can be understood. I also think that a webquest is a great way for students to learn something new while using technology. It teaches students how to search for things on the internet; which is something they will be doing quite a lot in older grades. Understanding how to navigate a website or use a search engine is important, and one of the most effective and entertaining ways to do so is to use a webquest.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Chapter 7 - English

This chapter presented several good ideas about how to use WebQuests in an English classroom. I have never used WebQuest in any of my classes as far as I know, and so this was a whole new type of technology to explore. English presents many different opportunities for using WebQuest in the classroom. It reminded me a little bit of the Excel projects that we did, because there were several ideas about how to present new material to students. I would love to use this technology to help my students understand literary terms and concepts. Those are quite often looked over by teachers in the classroom, or quickly gone over. Therefore it would be a great advantage to students to be able to have another way of learning the material outside of the classroom.

Another point that I thought was very useful was the fact that in order to find a WebQuest that is suitable for students, the teachers should complete the WebQuest by him or herself. This is something so simple, but yet it is often forgotten. I definitely want to use WebQuests in my classroom, and I want to make sure that my students have every chance to learn that they can get. It is so important that the WebQuest works for every student, so adaptation is key. I remember working on my podcast project and picking a video that was presented in American Sign Language, so that if I have a student who is deaf in my classroom, they will be able to participate the same way as other students. In that respect, it is extremely important to adapt WebQuests to your students' needs. I want to teach my students the material in the most effective manner, and WebQuest provides a great opportunity for thorough teaching.

Chapter 7: Word Processing

This chapter was another very helpful one. There were lots of suggestions for fun activities in the classroom. Some great activities included a poetry study, writing stories, writing field trip reports, and making charts. All of these projects sound very interesting, and I think many students would enjoy doing them. They are fun and easy to do. Promoting creativity while using technology has been something that we have been worried about, and there are some great ideas in how to do so.
There are a few negatives associated with the use of technology. For one thing, you can't just take your kids outside and write a story. The environments are more limited than a pen and paper while in school. Another issue is the fact that some students will become too reliant on the technology. For example, many students are terrible spellers, but have just learned to use spell check. A student never has to learn basic rules like spelling and grammar if the computer will check them every time.
There are many positives about using Word Processing. One of the major perks is improving legibility. I, for one, have terrible handwriting, and the use of Word Processing would really help to make sure that everyone is able to read what the child is saying. Word Processing is also cool because there are many templates and other resources available to make many more things. If creating a project, you might not have time to create a ton of charts, but using technology might help you to create them more quickly.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Math Webquests

Like Danielle previously mentioned, my idea of a Webquest was a random search on the internet for information relating to a noted topic. After reading this chapter, my impression has improved greatly. Webquests seem like a great tool to have in the classroom to, yet again, allow students to dive into the material and experience it hands-on.

Not only will Webquests familiarize students with the internet, but they can also improve many skills involved in everyday math problems. The main advantages discussed in the chapter were improvements in problem solving, reasoning, communication, making connections, and representing the information. All five of these strategies are extremely beneficial in a math classroom and later in life.

One major thing a teacher has to keep in mind when introducing a Webquest activity is its purpose. Its intent is not to have a student go to his or her favorite search engine and blindly look for answers. It is a way to learn where to find useful, reliable information, figuring out what that information means, and how to present the results made in the requested manner. Through all of the projects we have done this semester, we all have stressed the importance on keeping the purpose in the forefront. A teacher's purpose cannot get mixed up when teaching an important concept.

Elementary: Word Processing

After reading Chapter 7, I definitely found a few pros for using word processing in the classroom. Again, it's hard for me to think about replacing hand written work with computers. I think it's very important for students to practice English by hand because it helps them recognize letters, etc. But seeing as students today will probably be working on computers more than using their written hand, then word processing is great practice.

I liked the fact that while using word processing students are able to find more colorful words using the thesaurus. This will help students build their vocabulary! I also am completely for keyboarding classes. The keyboarding class that I took in 5th grade was one of the most important classes that I have taken in my schooling career. So many of what we do is on the computer, involving typing; it is crucial that we learn at an elementary level the proper fingering etc. for typing!

I also liked the creative word processing activities planned in this chapter. I really liked the hundreds chart idea where the students use a table to create a reference tool for math. Field trip reports, research reports, and virtual e-mails were all great ideas for the classroom as well. Using word processing to write poems is also a great idea. It's a great way to help students creatively present their poems. It also helps students grasp the ideas of using images in word processing.

In general, I thought this chapter was very helpful and I agreed with most of what was said. The Computer Apps. courses that I took in high school have been very helpful over the years and I would have loved to have the chance to learn more about word processing programs at a younger age.

Ch. 13 - WebQuests

WebQuests are a great way for students to explore the internet in order to find information. This gives students the opportunity to learn how to search for information on the internet. Therefore, the students would be able to learn how to research information as well as learn the questions being asked about math. By creating a worksheet that correlates with the WebQuest, students will be able to use problem-solving and understand mathematical concepts to complete the task at hand. This is a very effective way for student with learning disabilities to comprehend the material. Having a step-by-step worksheet that gives the students a structured way to learn.
When working with students with special needs, it is important to use visual interpretations of the material. This can help those students really understand the content because they are able to see how it works. Given a specific task, the students can partake in the activity with a certain goal in mind. It is a great way for students with special needs to learn in a way that is structured towards their specific needs. By creating a worksheet that directly correlates with the activity, the students will be able to focus on finding the answer for each question.

Math WebQuests

Until reading this chapter and the article about adapting Webquests for students with learning disabilities, I was under the impression that a Webquest was simply a scavenger hunt online. I am pleased to learn the variety of topics Webquests can take on as well as their benefits.

I feel it is important to note that Webquests need to be step by step activities in which the students use the internet, but are not spending their time "Googling." Rather, sites are provided in the Webquest to guide their research. This makes this process less open ended and optimizes the time spent doing the activity, since they are not wasting time looking at poor quality sites.

Since we are just starting our Webquest projects everyone should keep in mind the quality of the sites you chose. Sites that are too wordy will be hard for students with disabilities to use because the important information is hidden between long sentences. Try to pick sites that are visually appealing, engaging and easy to read so that you give equal opportunity for all of your students to succeed.

At the end of this math chapter a list of suggested Webquests are given and I am weary of some of them. While the basketball example that Jessica spoke of is engaging and interesting for most all students, some of the examples given seem unappealing. My topic for this project is geometry and one of the suggested Webquests is about quilting. Although this may appeal to some students, I believe that many would not benefit from this real-life application. Thus, let's all try to chose topics that are not gender specific and that can inspire our students by showing them some interesting applications of math!

Chapter 7- Word Processing

Chapter 7 was about word processing the the benefits that can take place within the classroom from using it. The chapter starts off by talking about how using word processing for writing papers or any sort of writing assignment can prove beneficial. If you have bad handwriting for example, using word processing eliminates any distraction one might have from reading work that is not neatly written. It also gives students the ability to check their spelling and correct sentence format as well as many other grammatical tools. Word processing can also make a work more aesthetically pleasing with the use of wordart, clipart, colored fonts, and much more.

This Chapter also brings up the issue of typing and just how early students should learn proper typing techniques. According to this chapter, it is commonly disagreed on when students should be introduced to typing. Some argue it should be taught as early as kindergarten and others say as late as junior high. I think that learning it the earlier the better. Like the previous chapter on technology, we know that technology is such a large part of education these days and it is only becoming more prominent. I think that if students are introduced to it early on, they will have an easier time adapting to the constant changes. I also think that the programs students can use on the computer are fun and educational. On the other hand, I also find it vital that students know and learn the importance of handwriting. There are a lot of situations in life that require hand written material. I think that a good balance of teaching handwriting skills and typing/word processing skills is optimal for a classroom.

Chapter 13, Math: WebQuest

WebQuest is an "inquiry-oriented activity in some or all of the information that learners interact with comes from resources on the internet" (13). Basically, WebQuests present a difficult problem to students and then allow students to use online resources to solve the problem. WebQuests can be used to teach mathematics through problem solving, representation, reasoning and proof, connections, and communication. Although there are many topics (ie. calculus, algebra, data analysis, geometry) that can be covered through WebQuests, the one topic that seems to fit the most is data analysis. Many of the examples listed in the chapter relate to using the internet to collect data and then using math skills to represent and interpret that data.
This chapter gave an example of using a WebQuest to link math and basketball. Students had to collect data on offense, defense, and win-loss records of teams. Then, the students represented the collected data in bar graphs. After this, the students used reasoning to find the link between offense, defense, and win-loss records. So not only did the teacher incorporate a fun topic into the classroom, but also the teacher presented the students with problem solving, connections, representation, and reasoning. And all this was done through a WebQuest.
I hope I can make WebQuests for each topic I teach because it ensures that students are actively involved in learning.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Chapter 7, Elementary Word Processing

This chapter focuesed on different ways & times to implement word processing in a classroom. There are many beneficial things that would come from using word processing such as instant feedback about spelling errors with options for corrections, students can learn to use the built-in thesaurus, & word processing in general eases the editing process. There are also positives for teachers when students use word processing. The writing would all have the same legibility so that the teacher can focus on the words & ideas without being distracted by sloppiness. This chapter also introduced numerous projects that students could do by using word processing once they've understood how the program functions. Introducing the students to different elements of word processing can help spark ideas on how to improve their work & display their learning experiences.
I think that introducing & using word processing at a young age could be extremely helpful for students as long as they have knowledge about how to type. As chapter 7 addressed, students' ability to type will greatly affect the success of word processing within the classroom. The question is when is the appropriate age to teach & enforce keyboarding? Many teachers & parents have varrying opinions which creates inconsistancy within a school. I think that if the school or district as a whole could discuss this matter & make a decision as to when students should learn keyboarding, then word processing could be used to its fullest potential.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chapter 6: Drawing Elementary

This chapter stressed the importance of elementary students using drawing softwares to enhance their creativity and expression. Programs like these can be especially helpful to support non-linguistic representation. The visuals that the children create can be very helpful to represent vocabulary or curricular concepts.

At first, I wondered why it would be more beneficial for a child to use a computer to draw rather than doing it by hand. In the book, it mentions that students need to learn how to manipulate a mouse and keyboard. It is also mentioned that the computer can motivate some students more than a box of crayons can. It would also be helpful for non-literate students to express themselves through drawings.

I do like the idea of children using this software and expressing themselves through it, but I don't think I would rely on it. I still feel like hand made drawings, especially for younger elementary students, would be the better option. As the students get older, the software would help when designing diagrams of the water cycle or drawings of habitats. I also feel like younger students, such as kindergarteners, would like the idea of actually using crayons and markers as opposed to a computer program. I wouldn't mind using a computer program as a tool, but I would not rely on it.

Chapter 10 - English

This chapter was not what I expected it to be, nor did it live up to the new technology that I thought it would. The majority of the chapter was about the different ways to structure Power Point. Yet what made me question some of the material was the way in which the authors discussed how much text should be on a page. The sample pages showed hardly any pictures and way too much text. They made a point of saying that the students that are really shy are more willing to present a topic when they can use Power Point. In my opinion this is not the right approach for students, depending on the use of Power Point.

I like the idea of having an aid for those who are on the shy side, but there is a difference between that and having your whole presentation on the slideshow so that you don't have to do much thinking on your own. I want to help inspire my students to become more confident with their public speaking skills. Developing those skills in high school is extremely valuable, and it cannot be replaced with technology. The technology should aid the student's presentation, not the other way around. I would love for my students to utilize Power Point for their presentations and to show their classmates resources and information that would otherwise be inaccessible. But I want to always make sure that it is my student's knowledge that shines, and that their use of media merely helps them achieve this goal without overtaking the stage.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Elementary: Drawing

While observing at Hoose Elementary, I was walking in the hallway when I noticed that one entire wall was covered with computer "paint" drawings of a butterfly. I stared at them for a long time, as I was waiting for my co-op teacher, and thought that they seemed unimaginative and that they all looked the same! I would have loved to see crayon, or marker, or colored pencil drawings of a butterfly. These butterflies all looked identical, and it seemed kind of robotic to me.

After reading Chapter 6, I found that my mind was a little changed in regards to using computer paint programs in the classroom. I definitely agree that they are an excellent tool in teaching younger children that the computer is not just a toy, it is useful! I also agree that drawing projects can help the student practice manipulating a mouse; improving his or her motor skills. Our society is turning "totally technological" and I think it's great that programs, such as the ones discussed in the chapter, are helping to prepare students for the future. Yet I still just can't help but to think that art projects that aren't computer generated have a certain charm to them that can't really be replaced. Even after reading the chapter it's still hard for me to think that diagrams/pictures/drawings are better when they're computer generated.

As a teacher I will definitely be using the programs mentioned in this chapter ---- I just will not use them all the time. When my siblings show me their art projects from school, they are all "comptuer-ized". They have barely gotten to experience making a home made project. I understand that creating something on the computer is its own type of art, I just think that in elementary schools today, it can become overused - I've watched it with my brothers and sisters.

Math 18 - Role of Technology

According to chapter 18 of Technology-Supported Mathematics Learning Environments, there are five ways in which technology is being implemented in the modern mathematics classroom. First, technology is used as a management tool to help teacher and student organization and efficiency and to "facilitate their classroom activities" (p. 278). Second, it is given the role of a communication tool in order to help teachers connect with students, parents, colleagues, and other schools. Third, technology is used as an evaluation tool which provides teachers with feedback as to students' progress in the classroom. Fourth, it becomes a motivational tool which encourages and engages students in their exploration of mathematics. And fifth, and supposedly most importantly, technology is used a a cognitive tool which works to represent difficult, abstract concepts in new ways which are easier for students to understand.

I think that all of these reasons are excellent and support the idea that technology is a necessary component of any mathematics classroom. As long as technology is not abused or solely relied upon, but rather implemented as one or all of these tools, it can only benefit the students and teachers who use it. I agree with the statement on page 289, "Equally essential is that we use technology thoughtfully... so that we are not merely implementing technology for the sake of technology itself."

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Math- Chapter 18

There is a push being made to incorporate technology into classrooms. However, "the new visions of technology-rich classrooms called for by national and state standards pose great challenges for teachers" (Knuth, 277). The majority of the educators currently in the field teaching are not familiar with the use of technology nor the new advancements being made everyday. They did not grow up being taught with technology in the classroom and thus, are not comfortable using it. Luckily, we are in a whole different ball park. Although our teachers may not have used technology very often, growing up we got glimpses of how it could be used: successfully or not. Especially with all that we are learning in this course, we will be very prepared to enter the education field using the technological advancements that the nation and state wants. It is exciting to think that we really are the future of education! We will be able to bring in fresh ideas and even teach other teachers our newest technology uses. 

Since the important parts of the chapter have been well summarized by the other math majors, I thought I would mention one part of the chapter that stood out to me. There are many good reasons to use technology. As Jessica pointed out, technology can help in management, collaboration, assessment and learning. However, we must make sure that when we are using technology in our classrooms that we are using it to support one of those aspects. As the authors of the chapter point out, it is essential that "we use technology thoughtfully, in meaningful ways so that we are not merely implementing technology for the sake of technology itself" (289). Doing so would take away from all the advantages technology has to offer. So don't just show some video or podcast or other online media to your class just to say you used technology. Make sure you use quality technology to help your students learn and become engaged.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Ch. 18 - Roles of Technology

In this chapter, I learned about the many roles that technology can play in order to enhance the learning potential in the classroom. Creating real-life problems and allowing your students to see how different variable manipulate or change that data helps them see how math is truly used in the real world. I know I found it extremely helpful when my teachers would show graphs and tables to explain how certain equations work, however, only a few of my teachers in high school would actually show how changing variables in the equations would change the graph and/or table. I appreciated learning from graphs and tables, but when I was able to see how they could change was when I learned the most.

Since technology is becoming more prevalent in today's society, it is important to expose your students to new forms of technology so they can become comfortable with it. If your students leave without a proper knowledge of technology as well as mathematics (or whatever the subject may be), then they will have more difficulty down the road when all of their peers have been exposed to a certain technology and they have never even heard of it. In order to avoid that situation, it is important to incorporate technology that can be helpful for them in the real world. By showing the class simple manipulations in data using graphs and tables and letting the students explore the data as well, then they can learn both mathematics and technology. Using technology is such a great way for students to visualize the information and really get their hands dirty in the content.

Chapter 6, Drawing Elementary Education

This chapter focuses on the importance of simple computer drawing programs that could be used in elementary classrooms. Drawing supports non-linguistic representation which allows students to create their own visuals to show vocabulary and curricular concepts that they have learned. When implementing drawing programs into the classroom, big fancy softwares are unnecessary. Simple computer drawing programs that often already exist on the computer can be suitable. It's important not to overwhelm young students with too many options because that could disrupt their imaginative ideas.
There are numerous reasons for why teachers should use drawing programs in their elementary classroooms. A few that the book discuss are that computers are an integral tool of the classroom and students need to learn how to manipulate a mouse and keyboard, the computer can motivate some students, and they can help disabled students (non-literate students) to demonstrate their knowledge. This chapter provided great reasons why these programs are useful and examples of computer drawing projects that would be beneficial to use in the classroom, however my concern would be when there would be time to do these things.
While working in elementary classrooms it has become more apparent that time goes by quickly. Teachers barely have enough time during the day to cover core subject areas such as science and social studies. Also, not every classroom in every school has enough computers for every student, so again it could be difficult to use drawing computer programs. I think that using these programs in elementary classrooms could be beneficial and enhance some learning, but finding the time, space, and materials to make it all work may be difficult.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Chapter 6-Drawing

This chapter was about the creativity and expression that comes from using the computer to create drawings. For younger children, it is some times difficult to express themselves by just talking or writing and drawing is another good outlet for communication.

This chapter focuses on the learning experiences children can gain from drawing. Kids can be asked to draw the life cycle of a plant, or the different seasons, and in this way they are having fun and learning at the same time. Through the use of the computer, kids are introduced to technology at an early age, which will bode well for them in the future considering the increasing amount of technology used every day both in the home and at school. So not only are children learning about a certain subject, but advancing technologically all while having fun!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Chapter 6 Drawing

This was by far the best chapter I have read so far. This chapter highlighted many different activities that children could do besides just picking up a marker and drawing on paper. Technology offers so many more options! One thing I really liked about this chapter was the fact that they didn't push the highly advanced forms of technology. The chapter even mentioned that students shouldn't always use the most advanced technology because they might lose their sense of creativity. One of the most important factors when it comes to technology is creativity. The way in which the teacher presents has to be creative, but at the same time the teacher needs to make sure that the technology does not take away from the student's creativity.

There were some very interesting ideas in this chapter. I really liked the idea of children being able to draw concepts. Drawing concepts really taps into a child's creative side, and it makes it easier for some students to learn. Every student has a different learning style, and drawing and the use of technology help many students who cannot learn from simply listening to the teacher.

One example of a project stuck out to me in particular. The idea of Glyph is to give every student a basic item, such as a snowman, and the student has certain instructions to add certain things. The catch is that every instruction would have a different answer for a different child. For example, the child has to make the snowman's shirt the same color as his/her eyes. Or the student has to add buttons for every member of the family. With this idea, students will be doing the same project, but it will all be very personalized.

Chapter 18, Math

Jen talked about how using technology helps students remember topics in the classroom, which I think is the reason why technology can be considered a motivational tool. I am going to focus on the other roles technology plays in a mathematics classroom: as a management tool, a communication tool, an evaluation tool and a cognitive tool.
Technology can be used as a management tool because it helps teachers and students work together. Some examples of using technology as a management tool include internet home pages including activities, review, and lesson plans. Other resources include grade-book programs, spreadsheets, and databases intended to help teachers organize and prepare daily activities.
Next, technology can be used as a communication tool because it allows teachers to share ideas with one another. In the last chapter we learned that there are podcasts set up in which teachers can share lesson plans with each other. This is one way technology can be a communication tool. Also, teachers can communicate with parents and students at home through web pages (like the wikis we are creating).
Technology can also be used as an evaluation tool because teachers can use video observations or grading software to give their students feedback on assignments. Personally, I don't know if I would make video observations for each of my students, but you never know.
Lastly, technology can be used as a cognitive tool. Technology, if used correctly, can provide ways for students to understand mathematical concepts more clearly. Technology usually lends itself to hands-on-activities, which is a great way for students to fully understand "mathematical algorithms, procedures, concepts, and problem-solving situations" (280).
Who would have thought that technology could play so many roles in a mathematics classroom? As a management, communication, evaluation, motivation, and cognitive tool, it is clear that technology is a must have in the classroom.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Chapter 18 Math

This chapter discusses the importance of a teacher incorporating technology in the classroom and how it can enhance lessons. By using different programs, different variables of examples can be manipulated, and the outcomes will change. Students can study these changes and become more familiar with the new concepts. They will understand how and why these problems and solutions work when they visualize the example. As technology continues to progress, teachers really need to bring technology into the classroom for students to become comfortable with the advances being made.

When I was in high school, not too many of my teachers used technology in the classroom to express ideas; however, the few who did are memorable. Concepts are embedded in my memory better when I have seen them or heard them in different words than the familiar manner of my teacher. The greater variety of ways teachers can express information, the more able different types of learners are to absorbing the information.

Working with Podcasts

I liked this podcast project because podcasts are another resource that I would be able to use in my future classroom. My subject area for this project was science and I found numerous National Geographic video podcasts as well as science talk shows for kids. The audio podcasts I found could be used in an elementary classroom while the students are doing activity stations. I've seen a classroom do stations for language arts and it seemed to be very beneficial for students to learn and review the content in various ways. When doing stations in science, one of the stations could be at the computers and students could listen to these different audio podcasts while answering prompted questions.
I enjoyed finding the video podcasts because I think having a visual while hearing the information helps young students to make the connection between the facts and the subject. National Geographic video podcasts are excellent resources that could be played for the entire class or in small groups.
The podcasts that I found for science were accurate and I could see myself using them in the classroom to help incorporate science and technology.

Podcasts and Videos

Podcasts and videos are great ways for students to experience the content of the subject without losing interest in the material. By incorporating them into the classroom, you have created a way for different types of learners to understand the material. Also, if you attach them to your course page, it is a great way for students to seek help when not at school. This can be helpful when the students are studying for their tests or just doing homework. It creates another way for students to visualize math in their head. Often the difficulty that students face is the inability to imagine how the equation works out. It is also a nice way for students to memorize different equations whether through repetition or song.

Podcasts

I really like the use of podcasts and videos in the elementary classroom. I think they could benefit the students. Instead of always hearing our voices as teachers, they can hear other ways of learning concepts. I even found some podcasts done by other students, and other students can relate to them. They can hear songs about certain subjects that are being learned in the classroom. These songs stay with them for a very long time. I found a song done by two brothers about saying no to drugs. This song was very catchy and would be hard to forget. Also, some children are auditory learners, and hearing podcasts may be a better way of learning for them. These podcasts can be used when introducing new topics or when researching topics for a research paper or for a project. Podcasts are just another creative way to reinforce what is being taught to students. They can be great discussion starters.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great tool for teaching children about any subject. It most cases it takes a normally dull subject and turns in into something entertaining and engaging. When teachers show videos or any other type of media in class, students are usually more prone to listen to the message of the lesson.

I also think podcasts are a great way to introduce young learners to technology. They will be working with audio, visuals, videos, and other sources of media. Teachers could easily use podcasts to no only make subjects more interesting, but also introduce the technology aspect. For example, I observed in a sixth grade class at BJHS last year and they listened to news podcasts every morning. They then had a chance to use their computers to make their own news photo story podcasts. The students took a lot from the activity; they were able to creatively work together!

I will definitely be using podcasts in my classroom, just for the simple fact that it is a stimulating way to teach a lesson. The technology aspect helps too :)

Podcasts/Videos

I think that using podcasts/videos in the classroom will be very helpful. Since I am hoping to teach in an elementary school, I know that I will have very distractible students. Podcasts/videos help to draw the students' attention. Since it is a change of pace from the normal day, students are more likely to want to be involved. It is also easier to bring in different types of resources to accommodate all students' learning styles. If one student learns better from listening, and one learns better visually, a video will work for both students. There is also a lot more room to be creative.

Podcasts/videos are also great because they can be shared with so many people. It is harder to distribute books and other things, but the use of the internet makes things available at that instant. A teacher could make a video in another country, and I could have it in a matter of seconds.

Podcasts/videos are good because they resemble something that many students enjoy, television. If we start to get students interested in positive forms of entertainment, they may be more inclined to want to learn. For example, if I showed a SchoolHouse Rock music video, the students would probably be more likely to remember the information as opposed to me just telling them what they need to know. Another example is the use of the video in which Darth Vader explains math concepts. Children who like Star Wars will be interested, and will probably be more receptive to the lesson.

Podcasts

I like that podcasts and videos allow students to learn the material in a different way than through lecture. Math can be easily taught through daily lecture, but videos (even if they are simply explaining topics) give a good alternative for students. I also like how different each video and podcast is--it provides diverse lesson plans for students (and addresses different learning styles). Also, by using podcasts and videos in the classroom, you can follow up with the students make the videos accessible at home. This way, students and their parents can recall what was taught in the classroom.

You can use podcasts as an alternate form of teaching. Instead of boring your students through writing on the board every day, you can play videos to keep students interested. Some of the podcasts I found also provide interactive activities. Math podcasts often provide examples where students are expected to solve them and then continue the video to see if they answered correctly. Like I mentioned before, podcasts can be used in the classroom and then be made available to students at home so that they can relearn the material. If a student needs further explanation, they can consult the podcast. Also, if a student misses class, they can watch the podcast or video and have a better understanding of the topics.

Podcast

Podcasts give students an entirely new set of resources outside of the classroom, and I love that. When a student is not in class, they still are able to find the information that they need and get instruction when a teacher is not readily available. English poses a whole new realm of ways to use podcasts. Where other subject can use them to explain different concepts, English can do that and also create a new method for students to reiterate the literature material that they are learning. In my project I used several podcasts which incorporate listening to poems and short stories by different authors. These allow students to hear the stories and poems and understand how the author's words can come to life.

I would use podcasts in my classroom to demonstrate new English concepts as well as reiterating material. However, there is a new challenge that is brought up by podcasts. Teachers may have a student who is deaf, and therefore they are not able to hear the podcasts or the audio for the videos. Therefore it is important to make sure that they feel as though they are included. I included one video where a woman is explaining English concepts through American Sign Language. This would help the student understand the same concepts as the other students in the class were getting through regular audio podcasts. It is important to think of all possible situations when coming up with new ideas for the classroom.

Podcasts & Math

One of my favorite aspects of podcasts is how they are able to reach students in a completely different way than lecturing or group work or any other teaching method. Students who are audio or visual learners will benefit from podcasts and or videos.

I believe that even math teachers can benefit greatly from using podcasts in a classroom. It is a unique way to introduce a subject to students in a fun way. Probing students with questions to answer while listening to a podcast increases their listening skills: something helpful in all subject areas. Intructional videos are great for math because if a student is struggling or misses class, there are many resources for them to watch and learn what they missed. Finally, I believe that podcasts or videos of catchy songs are particularly beneficial for math since there is necessary memorization that is difficult for some students.

Podcast Response

Podcasts are a great tool to incorporate into the classroom, especially when introducing a new topic. It is great for a student to see a visual of the new idea in a video podcast or hear the concept explained in different words than his or her teacher would usually use. Video podcasts or narrated, computerized presentations are great way to see different examples of math problems worked through. Every single step is usually showed, so the student can easily follow.

Podcasts can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom and at home by the students. The students can review a topic after it was just introduced earlier that day, when struggling with homework, or to review for a test. Parents of the students can also watch and listen to podcasts with their children so they can help with the homework assignment. Another way to use podcasts in the classroom would be to have students create their own to share with the class. When a student is assigned to teach a topic, they are forced to become very familiar and confident with it.

Podcasts and Videos

From what I have seen, podcasts and videos seem to be a great way to engage students' interest in subject matter that they would normally find boring. I know that I am a visual learner, and I remember things best when I watch them, such as in a video. I'm sure that some of my students will be the same way since they all have different learning abilities and attributes.

This project has allowed me to realize how many different multimedia tools are available out there to help me teach math in a classroom someday. After all, I have always found that one is far more likely to remember and work hard at a topic which he or she enjoys. Videos and podcasts definitely help in that area.

In a classroom, I would probably use a podcast or video to introduce a topic or just for a fun change of pace. I would use it to spark conversation and pose questions about the topics presented and get students excited about the subject concerned.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Math: Chapter 16

After reading this chapter, it has become more obvious that using the internet in the classroom goes beyond just research, as I used it in high school. Now, different interactive lessons or activities are available online, and students can engage in these to visualize different concepts or get hands-on experience with these new concepts. A teacher needs to remember when assigning an internet-based project to help guide the students so they don't get lost. The goals are to remain in focus so groups do not get off task. I have had professors who like to use the internet to show different videos or articles relating to topics we discuss in class, but one would always get distracted by pop-ups or different links. The students would sit in class watching the projector as she was clicking on random things that interested her, whether they related to that day's topic or not.

Using the internet is a very important tool that students need to learn. The internet is becoming increasingly important in everyday life, and it is vital for students of this generation to learn advantages and disadvantages of using the internet.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Math, Chapter 16

I don't know if the link I added works, so just in case, here it is: http://ilf.crlt.indiana.edu/.
A lot of this chapter talks about incorporating the internet into our lessons, but what interested me the most in this chapter were the forums that teachers can use to share ideas with each other.
The Inquiry Learning Forum, ILF, is one of the websites included in our reading. The ILF is just one of many websites that uses video to improve "students' learning in mathematics and science by supporting teachers in better understanding inquiry-based teaching and learning" (255). I found it interesting that there are forums to teach teachers. Instead of using videos to teach a class, which I believe are very effective, one can also use videos to help teach teachers.
I am not a member of the forum, so I don't know the exact layout of the website, but our book told us a little about the forum. One cool aspect of this website is that it allows teachers to post videos of their lessons and links to their lesson plans. This will aid teachers who may need help coming up with a lesson plan for a specific topic. Teachers should not be required to know exactly how to teach every single topic, so by having forums such as the ILF, teachers can ensure that each of their lessons are sound. By using this website, teachers can share ideas and lessons and enhance their classroom. Teachers can be resourceful and collaborative--which is SO important.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Chapter 12; More Elementary Technology

This chapter provided many other different education technologies that can be used in the classroom. These included internet resources, blogging, email, digital cameras, web design, and video. I had never thought of using such resources in the elementary classroom. The more I read about them, the more I thought they could really benefit younger students.

One resource that really stood out to me was the use of digital cameras with elementary students. These cameras can be used in field trips. In the reading, the author mentions that photos taken by students are much different than photos taken by teachers. Teachers tend to take action shots of the students, while the students take photos of their new learnings. Teachers can assess these photos to see what a student learned during a field trip. Then, the students can use these photos to create a slideshow or a collage of their trip. I noticed in my field study that the cooperating teacher allowed her second graders to take photos during their field trip to the zoo. Then, they hung their photos up on the wall in the hallway.

Another resource that I liked was blogging. Blogging can be used to continue classroom discussions. Blogging also may guarantee that all of the students can be heard. In the classroom, shyer students may be overshadowed by more outgoing students who dominate conversations. Blogging can show opinions of these students that may have gone unheard in the classroom. The only problem with blogging is that some students may not have computer access at home. In that case, the blogging should be done during school hours on school computers rather than as a homework assignment.

Once again, I had never thought to use such technology in the elementary classroom. I can see now how using these can greatly benefit the students and only enhance their learning.

Elementary: Other Education Technologies

I liked this chapter because, like the other chapters in the book, it talks of introducing technologies that would normally be thought for older ages, to younger ages. Technology is advancing every day, and it is important for children now to grasp the concept of it. When their generation has grown, their world will be surrounded by technology - it's important for them to be immersed in it now!

I liked how the book introduced some great websites that students can use to understand the curriculum better. While beginning to read this chapter, I thought that I wouldn't like the idea of letting a computer screen teach students important concepts. Yet I remembered the computer game Treasure Math Storm that I used to play when I was little (everyyy day). The game taught me how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide better than my teacher could at times. It was entertaining, at MY pace, and fun.

I also liked the idea of blogging for elementary grades. It's just an electronic journal! They are journaling, only on the computer. It's so helpful because in the future they will be "journaling" mostly on nothing but the computer. Almost everything they write will be on the computer - it already is like that today.

Using digital cameras in the class is an excellent way to use technology. I will definitely be using them to help reach all the different types of learners in my class. The students will also be excited to be using such "grown up" tools that they will be more enthusiastic about the lesson :)

Chapter 12, Other Education Technologies Elem

This chapter provided a lot of different helpful technologies that could be useful in an elementary classroom. Some of these technologies that I agree could be popularly used in an elementary school are evaluated websites, E-mail/blogging, and digital cameras.

I think that introducing different internet resources to students at a young age will familiarize them with technology and can enhance some learning skills. This chapter describes how some sites often address basic reading and math skills such as alphabet order, number sense, phonics, and arithmetic operations. I thought that this chapter provided a lot of useful examples of website resources that teachers could use, including virtual manipulatives. In general, I think that manipulatives are an excellent way for students to learn and grasp concepts, but I agree that these virtual manipulatives can give students more freedom to experiment using different objects.

I believe that e-mail and blogging can be a fun and easy way for students to communicate with one another and the teacher. However, as chapter 12 stated, this may not be the best option because not every student has access to a computer with an internet connection.

The idea of getting some digital cameras for the classroom can be extremely beneficial. Cameras can be used for students to take immediate pictures of their observations during field trips or class nature walks. Then, the pictures that they took can be uploading on a classroom computer screen to review what different classmates had learned. I believe that all of these different technologies can be introduced to early elementary students to enhance their learning and become familiar with technological advancements.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Ch. 16 - Math Supported by Internet

When I read this chapter, I was impressed and quite shocked by the amount of opportunities provided with the use of internet within the classroom. My previous thought was that the internet could only really help with creating a course website that students could view from home for additional help with classroom material and expectations of the course. I never realized that there were so many websites that have interactive math activities on them. This could provide a great way for students to participate in a fun activity that will keep them engaged throughout the lesson. This is also a helpful tool for students outside of the classroom as well. When they are having trouble visualizing their homework problems, they can go back to the same websites that were used in class and redo the activities to better understand the material. Using the internet creates an accessible way for students to learn math and how it applies to real life situations. Some of these websites incorporate different ways to analyze data that is prevalent in today's society such as earthquake activity and marine data. This can allow the students to research a topic that they find interesting and report back what they found out by looking at and analyzing the data. This is a great way to implement group projects that require the students to not only learn the math concepts required to analyze data, but also learn how to work as a team to accomplish a goal.

Math Supported by Internet

This chapter describes the opportunities available to educators and students through the Internet. Many resources are provided that have lesson plans, curriculum materials, and interactive activities. These websites are very valuable in helping educators prepare lessons. The section then gives examples of data resources that give way to data sets, real-time data projects, and collaborative and group projects. These Internet sites help support mathematics learning in the subject of statistics, but also in other subject areas to show how mathematics works in everyday situations. As we have noticed in our class already, access to videos can make learning entertaining while still being educational. Also, the Internet provides opportunity for students who miss class to watch the lesson via video. Finally, similar to our Wikis, this chapter talks about the opportunity for teachers and students to publish their work online. This allows others to benefit from it, as well as the producer to benefit from criticism of others.

What I was most surprised by was that as I went to the various websites suggested in the chapter, I realized that in all of my 'google' searches for our previous class topics, I have not come across even one of those resources. I am actually bothered by this. I would expect to find reliable sources when searching the Internet. However, it seems that the unreliable sites come up instead of the good ones. Thus, I am glad I now have a list of reliable sources and I like the advice given in the chapter about selecting Internet resources. 

Did anyone else find it odd that all the book's supposedly well-known sites are not ones that come up in searches?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chapter 2 - Videos in English Classrooms

I found this chapter to be particularly interesting. It describes the benefits of using videos in English classrooms, as well as the steps to take to allow for maximum creativity. I really like the idea of allowing the students to get into groups and figure out their ideas for themselves. By allowing the students to create different projects for the same concept, the students' creativity is sparked and brought to full capacity.

In addition, the students all learn vital skills about the roles involved with making a movie and the process that comes with it. For an English classroom, there is also a great opportunity for writing. Writing a script for a video not only is a great way to get experience writing, but it is also more fun for some students because it allows them to write something other than traditional prose. Without realizing it, students are getting even more experience than they realize. Using videos is a wonderful way to get students involved in the creative process and turn on thoughts about English that they would have never tried before.

Chapter 12

The idea of using technology in the Elementary classroom is great. Learning at a young age will help the students in the future. I had never thought about using blogs in the Elementary classroom, but it really does seem like a great idea. Everyone can get their ideas out, and it's a much better way to communicate outside of the classroom. Blogging is something that I never did before college, and I really think that I missed out by not using it before. It opens up so many different worlds that are not readily available.

Email is another valuable resource for the classroom. The statement about teachers being able to only send it to certain students really stuck out to me. We all know that students are at different levels in the classroom, and it would be nice to put students in different groups and have them working on different projects. The age of technology really helps to get each student involved and have his/her ideas heard.

Bookmarks are another very valuable resource. I never thought about the fact that each time you want to add a bookmark, it would take hours to add it to each individual computer. The websites that help organize these are a great idea. All of these websites are very helpful, and it's nice that they are available for everyone to use.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Chapter 8 focused the improvement of writing in elementary grades with the use of word processor. Teachers and schools are looking of ways to improve their writing lessons and styles. This chapter talks about text to table conversion which I thought to be a very innovative and possibly very beneficial way of teaching writing skills.

While I was shadowing, I actually witnessed a teacher using the smartboard to better enhance writing skills. She had placed sentences in to a table and then used the tools of the smartboard to point out sentence structure and sentence errors and corrections. It proved very helpful and the children in the classroom had fun while learning.

It is important for teachers to keep up with not only the new and different ways to teach writing skills, but how to teach these writing skills, for the skills and technology keep evolving.

Chapter 8; Word Processing to Improve Writing

This chapter stressed that by using word processing, younger students can greatly improve their writing. Younger students need time to learn the organizational patterns of writing. This is especially important now that state testing is increasing. It is also important that childrens' voices are not stifled and that it communicates well.

I thought it was very interesting reading about how schools are using computer software to help students organize their thoughts. The color coding of all of the components of a well written paragraph also struck me as a good idea. I can remember writing journal entries everyday in first through fourth grade. We also color coded our entries, but with highlighers. Word processors can make this process much easier and quicker. This is very helpful because it helps student realize where they can make improvements in their writing and whether it is organized well. It was also interesting to read about the text to table conversion. Students can convert their paragraphs to one-column tables where each sentence has its own cell. This seems like a very effective way for students to learn. Students can assess their writing even further and add more sentences whenever they feel necessary in a new column.

This reading really opened my eyes to new ways of using technology in the classroom. I had never even thought of using word processors as a way to improve the organizational skills of childrens' writing.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Chapter 8 Word Processing to Improve Writing

I really connected with the last paragraph of the chapter. It said that, "Teaching the writing process to students intimidates many teachers who don't consider themselves strong writers. Using technology to help students evaluate and improve their own writing has given Lenski teachers more confidence as they work with students of the writing process." (114) I know that I am not the strongest writer, and it really makes me more confident to see that other people have the same problem and that there is a tool that can help us out. Not only is it beneficial to us that we have something so wonderful to help us teach, but the book also pointed out that students need to have consistency when they learn to write. If everyone used this program, then all students would have the exact same information at hand. Our schools did not stress writing as much as other schools, and I feel like it has definitely effected me. I would feel a lot more confident if we had all learned the same things.

Another really good suggestion I got out of this reading is the use of color-coded writing. Having students use different colors to differentiate between opening, topic, and supporting sentences is a great idea. I'm a very visual person, and would have loved to see the colors when I was learning to write. This color-coding technique is also great because it teaches students to plan ahead when writing. Too often, students will just begin to write a paper without thinking about what they are going to say. Having to come up with a red opening sentence, then a green topic sentence will really help the young writer to visualize the paper.

Another aspect of writing that needs to be emphasized more clearly is the revision of the paper. Too many students just write the paper and are done. If the teacher makes them do revisions, they will simply correct the simple things like spelling. They need to be taught that revisions include adding more onto the paper, and making sure that there is enough support for each main idea.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Word Processing to Improve Writing

Chapter 8 focuses on the idea of using word processing to improve early writer's writing styles. With the increase of state testing, teachers must teach students in Grades K-2 to master the organizational patterns of writing. Young students can easily master how to write creatively, with lots of voice, yet they need help to understand the structure of sentences and paragraphs - how information is organized. I found it interesting that schools today are using word processing to help young student's understand and ultimately improve their writing. It makes sense! Word processing can easily and very clearly help young writers understand sentence structure through mapping, tables, and colors.

In grade school, we broke down sentences using different color chalk on the board, yet after reading Chapter 8 I found that word processing programs can do the same thing - only faster and easier. I also loved that the chapter included other programs that help with pre-writing or brainstorming. Those programs alone would be enough to convince me that technology can improve the writing skills of small children.

Illuminations

Since Danielle, Ben and Jen gave a good summary of the chapter, I'm not going to reiterate the main ideas of the chapter on Illuminations. Instead, I'm going to focus on one point that stood out to me. Illuminations was built on the idea that "students' understanding of mathematical ideas can be built throughout their school years IF they actively engage in tasks and experiences designed to deepen and connect their knowledge" (223). I completely agree with this statement.
I took a math class (that I will keep anonymous) at Wesleyan and really could not apply the topics to anything that I had previously learned. Furthermore, I could not see how the concepts would be applied to life outside the classroom and to this day I can honestly not tell you one topic we learned that semester. However, I took managerial accounting last year and was able to directly apply what we learned in that class to my job this past summer. I remember a lot more from that class and will be able to use the information in the future. I actively engaged in experiences that deepened my understanding of the subject.
Math is a little harder to connect to the real world than business, which is why this Illuminations website, and others like it, are so beneficial in a classroom. By applying the concepts to something that interests a student (like a summer job), the student is then more able to understand and grasp those concepts.

Chapter 8, Elementary Word Processing to Improve Writing

This chapter discussed the stress from increased state testing that is placed on the tstudents' quality of writing. This pressure tends to intimidate many teachers because it can take longer for young elementary students to grasp the organizational patterns of writing. Chapter 8 gives suggestions of different computer writing softwares that can be used in the classrooms to help iprove writing at the elementary level. The Step Up to Writing Program is a software that is designed to develop and organize pre-writing thoughts. A lot of the problems that younger students display with learning to write is how to generate and then organize all of their ideas.

Different writing computer softwares can help students to form and distinguish their writing skills through color coding and text to table conversion. As this chapter describes, converting the text sentences into a table helps young students to evaluate and revise their thoughts. These strategies can help the teachers stress the importance of revising your work in order to make it the best. I think that computer writing softwares can be beneficial in an elementary classroom because they would help to make ideas clearer and well-developed. I don't think that teachers should entirely depend on these softwares to improve their students' writing skills, but they would be useful in cleaning them up after the skills have been taught. It's important to create a strong writing foundation for students at an early age because writing is a way of communication and assessment.

Ch. 15 - Illuminating Math

In this chapter, I learned how math teachers can use websites, in particular a website called Illuminations, to create an advantageous way for the students to learn. Websites such as Illuminations provide an easy and effective way for the teachers to communicate with his/her students. The websites are intended to engage the students with the multitude of interactive activities. They also contain an abundance of helpful resources for both students and teachers. One of the major goals of Illuminations and other websites is to motivate the students and encourage them to have the desire to learn. The interactive features allow the students to create their own math which draw them in and makes them want to participate.

The most important point that I took from this chapter was that the teachers should continue to learn along with the students. I know that the saying goes, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," but as a teacher, who wants to be classified as an "old dog"? It is vital for teachers to stay on top of the incoming forms of technology and how to incorporate it into the classroom. With technological forms such as Illuminations, it becomes quite easy for students to incorporate technology within the classroom. I believe that it is important for teachers to always search for new ways to become better teachers. By incorporating programs, or in this case websites, into your teaching style, you will be using a new way to engage your students and therefore finding a way to become a better teacher.

For these reasons alone, I find it extremely beneficial for a teacher to use websites within the classrooms. By learning about Illuminations, I realize how wikis sites can be advantageous. They provide ways for students to remain engaged in the content and an easy way for teachers to provide feedback to the students. By using technology within the classroom, teachers are able to create connections with their students and focus on what the needs are for each student.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Chapter 15

The Illuminations website is a wonderful way for teachers to remain focused on the Principles and Standards that are to be taught in the classroom. It is a great resource for teachers to use in order to motivate students to learn. The website is designed to have students engage in activities that will allow them to absorb the information more easily and retain what they have learned. This tool is great for teachers to integrate different types of lessons in their everyday classrooms. After years of teaching, a teacher may become too comfortable with his or her teaching ways; however, if there is a tool available that will introduce new ways, teachers can continue to cater to the needs of all different types of students.

As I read this chapter, I thought about how effective a wikis site could be. If teachers can stay in touch, give feedback to one another about different lessons, upload lesson plans that were successful, and share activities that were effective, a wikis site could have great potential.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Illuminating Math

This chapter discussed how to connect the teaching/learning of mathematics with the internet. Specifically, the chapter focused on a website called Illuminations. This website is very interactive and has a wide range of resources for students and teachers alike. I found the goals of the website very intriguing. They mention that an important factor of learning is the motivation of the students. Thus, the activities on the site are designed to help students make the math their own. 

Another point that was stressed in this chapter is challenging the teacher to learn as well. All too often I believe that once a teacher finds a style of teaching that works for them, they give up on welcoming fresh ideas. The opportunities on Illuminations makes it easy for teachers to incorporate technology into their teaching. The website also give suggestions that will help teachers ask the type of questions that will get students to think further. Resources on this website probe teachers to reflect on the practice of teaching and investigate further ways to engage students. In so many ways, this website encourages teachers to learn more and become better teachers. For these reasons, I think this site is a huge success. But it doesn't stop here. I believe sites like our wikis will help in our teaching. We will be able to connect our students together and provide them easy access to websites such as Illuminations. 

Creating Websites in English Classrooms

After reading Chapter 9 of the Technology book for English classrooms, I now have a much better understanding of why websites are so useful. The most important thing about using websites in English classes is that they create a wonderful creative outlet for students. One aspect of websites that is often overlooked is the fact that they have to be written properly because of the availability to the world. Having students publish their writing online allows them to interact with students all over the world.

In addition to publishing writing, using websites allows students to use multimedia to accompany the writing in ways that they would not be able to use otherwise. I love the idea of using a website to help bring my class together. There are so many ways to create assignments around websites. I would love to have my students put their writing on the website and then be able to edit and comment on each other's work before they turn in a final draft. I think that it would be a great way for them to help each other without getting really embarrassed by having people read their work right in front of them. I would do anything to help my students become more comfortable sharing their work, whether that be in person or online.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Smartboard Reflection

During this smartboard project I learned a lot about how to incorporate different technologies into the classroom. I found when creating my own smartboard lesson that I was able to construct games and activities that young students would have fun learning with. Working on this project I noticed how to make the different smartboard pages appealing to students at the elementary level. After seeing a few other classmates smartboard projects, I feel that this type of technology can be useful to teach almost every subject. The smartboard gets students actively involved in the learning process which can help them to enjoy the process; increasing their desire to learn.
I felt that the smartboard session outside of class was extremely helpful. That taught me and allowed me to explore more of the uses of the smartboard. I really enjoyed this session and believe that it will be useful in my future teaching career.

Smart Board; Fine Arts

This SMARTboard project has really increased my knowledge of technology. I feel extremely confident in my abilities now to make different SMARTboard presentations for my own classroom. Projects such as these provide more interaction among students and get them involved in the class. They are no longer just sitting and reading from a textbook. I never knew a projector such as this could perform some of the acts it does. Students can actually go up to it and write down their answer. They can also move objects around with their finger. This will be extremely helpful in the elementary classroom to keep children interested and entertained while still learning. The SMART board provided many options for me in the fine arts for elementary children. It was a very interesting project and I'm happy that I can now understand how to use the SMARTboard now.

SmartNotebook Reflection

I really enjoyed this project! I showed some other people my project, and they were very surprised by what you could do with the program. I feel like there were many parts of the program that I did not utilize, and would like to go back in the future and learn more about it. The whole experience opened my eyes to other ways of teaching in the classroom. Interactive learning really is a great tool. This program is great because you can target so many different students and learning techniques with only one program. Although SmartNotebook has many options already included, there are tons of other add-ons and programs available to add more content to. It was a little confusing learning how to use everything in the program, but it was very worthwhile and I am excited to use it in the future.

SMART board

I really enjoyed making the SMART board presentation and I'm excited to use what I have learned in my classroom someday. I think it's important for all teachers to have knowledge of how SMART board works - if they are able to have a board in their classroom - because it can help the students grasp the ideas presented in the level and a more hands-on level. They will most likely absorb so much more than they would if the lesson was presented in a regular fashion. SMART board is creative, innovative, and an excellent tool.

The board also allows to touch on all different learning styles. You are able to satisfy the needs of visual learners, hands-on learners, music, art, etc!

Smartboard Reflection

Before starting my project, I was very excited to start learning about Smart board because I feel they are becoming quite prevalent in today's schools. Since I have never truly worked with one (because I don't count writing my name on one working with one), I was not quite sure all of the neat features it possessed. I know now that Smart board is an extremely helpful tool that I believe will help me out greatly in the future. Having the opportunity to work with a Smart board before having to teach with one I believe gives me an advantage as a future teacher because I will be able to start my teaching experience with lessons using technology. Learning the abundance of features was a great eye opener for what Smart board is truly capable of.

Smart Board Reflection

I was very eager to learn all of the Smart Board tools and discover what possibilities the notebook program has for math. While I enjoyed working on this project, I am a little dissapointed with the opportunites Smart Board has for math. I certainly can make math more interactive with the Smart Board, but I felt as if the really "cool" activities were not geared towards high school mathematics. My project about parabolas wound up looking somewhat elementary due to the nature of the notebook gallery, which is filled with cute clipart and child geared activities.

Luckily, it seems that the creators of the notebook software are already aware of this because when we went to CLA, Professor Nillas showed us the updated software which has more mathematic options. I hope that the new features will help me be able to use the Smart Boards to their optimal capacity.

Discovering SmartBoard

Learning how to use the SmartBoard was very interesting. I loved learning about all of the different techniques that can be used in order to make a successful lesson. Yet finding ways to use all of those techniques in English was slightly harder than I expected. In English we have much more discussion-based classes and don't have to talk about many definitions, but I'm glad that I found more ways to be creative and utilize the SmartBoard to my greatest advantage while teaching students about poetry and where they can find it. Through many trials I created slides which I believe would be very effective in a classroom. And thanks to my classmate, I even figured out how to convert video files to incorporate those directly into my project. All in all it was a time consuming process, but that is what learning is all about. I know that when I am a teacher and using SmartBoard that these concepts will begin to come more quickly and take less time. I am very thankful that more and more classrooms are using SmartBoards, and hopefully I will be able to get even more experience with them in the future.

Reflection of Smartboard Proejct

There are so many different activities that can be created using the smart board, and I definitely understand that we've only scratched the surface of what a smart notebook can do. Even just watching the projects being shown today, I realized that there is probably an infinite number of combinations of ways to use the tools in the smart notebook to teach lessons.

I hope that I am privileged to work at a school that has smart board technology because I feel that only lots of practice can help a teacher make lessons for students to reach the optimum benefits of it. I have learned that any subject can be taught using this, and I hope to be creative enough to find ways in order to do so. It is definitely possible using the smart board.

I also think that this is very important because it is such an engaging technology. Even I, as a college student, am in awe of the applications contained in the smart notebook. I can't even imagine how active students will become in learning if they have access to a tool such as this one.

SmartBoard Project

What I enjoyed the most about this project was becoming familiar with SmartBoard, because I know that it will be useful when I become a teacher. The program was difficult to use at times (especially since you can't use math symbols such as pi in interactive activities). It was also challenging to come up with activities and videos that fit with my subject (high school math), but I enjoyed the challenge. This project forced me to think outside of the box. It made me think about math in a different way and gave me many ideas which I will use in my classroom. Instead of just using a whiteboard, I know I can use, for example, videos of others teaching the subject or interactive activities to solve practice problems.
I am very happy with how my project turned out. After looking at others' projects, I now have even more ideas on how to use SmartBoard in my future classroom. SmartBoard is a great way to incorporate technology in the classroom and engage students in the lesson instead of simply talking to them. I think this will be a great way to keep students, especially teenagers, more focused.

SmartBoard Project

I really enjoyed this project. Becoming familiar with a new program was very interesting, though frustrating at times. The tools were very different than any other program I already know, so sometimes it was difficult to do what I needed to do. I feel that the outcome of the project turned out well, and I am happy with my final draft. One thing I found most frustrating was that there were not many tools that were already built into the program that I could use. I had to create a lot of different activities instead of using the ones already in Smart Notebook. Once I completed a challenging task, I felt very accomplished.

I feel that Smart Notebook is a great way to introduce a new topic in class and allow the students to have a hands on way to learn new material. Visualizing new concepts will hopefully help the students actually understand the information and retain it better as well. Another advantage to the Smart Notebook is the wide variety of ways a lesson can be taught. No two projects within our class are even close to the same. We all used different tools and activities to express new information. Creativity is key when working with the Smart Notebook. I hope that Smart Boards are available wherever I end up teaching because I think it can really enhance a student's learning experience.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Chapter 15 - Illuminate the Internet

This chapter in Technology-Supported Mathematics Learning Environments gives an overview of the "Illuminations" program within a classroom. Its mission pursues interactive multimedia resources that can be found online, internet-based lesson plans, external web resources, and easily accessible organized content.

I like that it is stated on page 223 that Illuminations has been designed with the idea in mind that student motivation is a main factor towards successful teaching. It actively engages students into the content by integrating all of it with modern technology. After all, with all of the vast knowledge available on the internet, a program like this can help to gather valuable online information easily.

A feature of Illuminations that I found interesting to read about was the Guiding Questions, which helped teachers "consider types of questions that would help focus students' attention on making sense of the mathematical concepts and the skills and applications associated with those concepts" (p.239). The choice of questions, or even how one phrases it, can make the difference for a student's understanding. Furthermore, I thought that the reflection activities were very applicable to Wesleyan student teachers especially, as reflection is an integral part of our framework.