Monday, August 31, 2009
I never really thought about the benefits of children learning early on how to use and understand databases and spreadsheets. The author points out that things like library records and internet search engines are databases that elementary children use frequently. Also, if they are some what familiar with databases and spreadsheets then they will be better equipped when they have to use them in the future.
After reading this chapter I completely agree with incorporating lessons on using databases and spreadsheets because of not only the immediate benefits, but the future benefits as well.
It was interesting to learn that as teachers we could put children at risk if we do not teach them skills for accessing online databases and using search engines effectively, because as the internet continues to grow, so do the inaccurate or biased resources inside it. Spreadsheets should be a part of elementary curriculum as well because it introduces a tool that will probably be used more than once in their future. It is a great, simple, and fun way to introduce using a computer. I also believe that it helps students with organizational skills and helps "tie the lesson up". For example, the graphing activities on page 149 would be an excellent closure/ending statement to any lesson.
It is interesting to keep in mind that what our parents learned in second grade, we most likely learned in first grade. It may not have been as big of a deal if our parents did not attend/finish college, but today, the pressure to attend college is much higher. Our society is fast-paced and ever-growing. Introducing databases and spreadsheets at an elementary level correlates with this speed, which is needed!
I agree with a lot of the ideas present in the paragraph, "Enhancing Statistical Learning Using Spreadsheet Software." Spreadsheet technology does indeed allow students to have a better overall look at data without performing endless repeated calculations (which due to human error could in fact distort the end result). This also allows students to explore more in-depth topics of statistics, such as the standard deviation, which are typically difficult to calculate.
This use of technology and guidance from the teacher can also help students develop theories from their own observations of the data. Posing questions, such as those asked by Mrs. Remille on page 183, helps students become more involved in the process rather than just taking in lectured knowledge.
I think that the main idea of this chapter is summed up on page 187 with the statement that explains how students who are given these opportunities with spreadsheet technology "develop a deeper understanding of concepts that form the basic foundation of statistical methods."
Sunday, August 30, 2009
This chapter included an actual fifth grade lesson plan that enables students to research data and then record their information using a spreadsheet application. This lesson plan teaches the students how to collect and analyze their data using both reliable web search engines and spreadsheet application. I think that lessons incorporating the students active participation will help the students retain how to correctly use these resources and will better prepare them in the future. I never thought about introducing databases and spreadsheets at the elementary level, but after reading this chapter I feel that it's important for students to learn how to apply and use these resources that are commonly seen in society today.
With technology, I could have understood the importance of actually computing the average and what an average means instead of following the steps to get a number. I think it's important to learn the steps and then expand on those steps by putting them into data spreadsheets.
It seemed like Mrs. Remille introduced mean, median, and mode before spreadsheets, because her students were able to use their knowledge of mean, median, and mode to guide them through the spreadsheet process and interact with the teacher. They even used their previous knowledge of mean, median, and mode, to help learn a completely new topic--standard deviation. I LOVED how Mrs. Remille guided her students to the answers instead of telling them throughout this chapter. She expanded her class's knowledge of topics they already knew and allowed them to find a definition of a new, more advanced topic.
This is definitaly how I would want to use technology.
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Stastistics are used in everything, not only math. For a student to receive a good foundation of statistics at an early age can only help him or her. He or she can later calculate grades, understand what a newscaster is talking about when rattling off stastistics, and use stastics in a future career. Mrs. Remille went about teaching the students in a creative way, asking questions that only made them more eager to seek the answer. I find the biggest challenge at hand is just that: being creative and coming up with exciting ways to express ideas and teach the foundations of math that can be used every day.
Friday, August 28, 2009
By using spreadsheet software, students will not only be able to understand the problem at hand, but also they will be opened up to a wider range of math. I believe that this is very important because the students will be exposed to more math and they might have a better chance of enjoying their learning experience. In addition, I feel that using spreadsheets really allows the students to experience and get their hands dirty in the data. By letting the students pick their own topic in which they will collect data for, they will become more interested in it and will most likely have a better time completing the project. This can help them become more confidence in themselves and their overall math abilities, which I believe is the most important part when it come to teaching math.
Assigning projects, however, is not the only way to teach with spreadsheets. When showing students data on a spreadsheet, the teacher can manipulate the individual entries to show how it can affect the live data. I feel that analyzing these alterations in the spreadsheet can also help them understand specific definitions and concepts that correlate with the data. I believe that spreadsheet software is an excellent way for students to obtain a better understanding on math and it applications towards real life.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
This chapter starts out by explaining how technology is more than just computers. I did not take into account all the other devices such as LCD projectors, digital cameras, and multi-media tools that are implemented into classrooms now. With the correct knowledge and understanding of all these technological devices, teachers are able to enhance their students' learning and ways of thinking. Then, the point is brought up that teachers should learn how to use all this technology so they can rely that knowlegde to their students. Teachers know their students and their learning habits which make them better equipped at teaching children about technology then say a tech assistant would be. So training teachers to utilize technology, then passing those skills on to their students is the most beneficial solution. Examples of this in the chapter show that schools that use technology to its full advantages, are more successful.
I agree that teachers need to learn about the technological advances that occur and then incorporate that in to their classrooms because of the positive outcomes it has on the children. I think that if more teachers were required to stay up to date with the rapid evolution of technology, then that knowledge could be passed on to help students to achieve at a higher and more advanced level.
This chapter also discussed the difference between a classroom teacher and a computer teacher. The book stated that a classroom teacher DOESN'T necessarily need collaboration to integrate technology, but a computer teacher CAN'T integrate technology with classroom content without the involvement of a classroom teacher. After rereading this specific section twice, I still remained a bit puzzled at why that is? I think that a computer teacher can implement some classroom content during their class by using outside resources from the actual computer. However, I do think that the computer teacher would be limited to few technological tools in comparison to a classroom teacher and would then not be able to improve student achievement.
I definitely agree that aministrative support plays a critical role in the success that classroom teachers will have when integrating technology. The attitude and the school staff is important because it can help to create an environment where teachers feel comfortable and encouraged to integrate technology and classroom content.
After reading the Introduction and Chapter 1 in Integrating Technology in Primary Grades, I was shocked to find that I agreed with a lot of what was said. I was mistaken when I said that technology takes away from hands-on learning and makes it harder to meet the needs of every student. The Introduction introduces Lois Lenski Elementary School as the winner of the AASL Library Media Program of the Year. The students in this school were actually able to have more control (more hands-on interaction) when computers were implemented in the classroom because they were forced to actively think about the information, make choices, and execute new skills during teacher-led lessons. Visual learners were able to see pictures and slideshows, Math/Science learners were able to work with graphs, and hands-on learners were able to play with intereacitve web sites. The integration of technology into Lenski School even helped provide gender-neutralizing effects.
The most important point that was emphasized throughout the reading was that integrating technology into the classroom means actually using technology to TEACH any lesson that needs to be taught. This does not mean that technology should be taught as its own subject, this means that technology should be used as a tool to teach all other subjects. I found it interesting that when technology is used appropriately to teach lessons, students will begin to find greater appreciation in their work.
I agree with what the author is saying. By using and integrating technology into the classroom, students are becoming more involved and having a higher curiosity than just reading and memorizing facts in books. Technology can help engage students in discovery and higher-level thinking. Technology may help students to better understand what they are learning by getting them more involved in the concepts.
Can you imagine learning how to factor and use the quadratic equation without using graphs to find the answers first? Thinking back on my high school math education, I can't imagine how much I would dislike math if I had to do all the busy work before using a graphing calculator. Using the graphing calculator allowed me to see the "macroprocedure," big picture, without having to put a pencil to paper. I could visualize what the tedious work would lead me to find; this gave the tedious work a purpose. If I had to do all the writing without picturing graphically what I was doing, I am almost positive I wouldn't have enjoyed it or done very well.
Also, in this way, those who learn by seeing the big picture first are aided; those who learn by doing the details are able to do so later through the tedious work.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
When reading Pete Rubba's thoughts about online courses vs. face-to-face teaching, I found it hard to believe that face-to-face teaching would dwindle away so quickly. I feel that face-to-face interaction is something that cannot be replaced. I understand that Rubba was trying to stress how important technology is in education, but I feel he was to extreme on his assumption. I agree best with Bob McCollum and Kyle Peck's beliefs on the matter. When it comes to teaching a math courses, I believe that one of the most important aspects is relating the methods/concepts to the each student's learning style. It is important to go into further instruction with an individual student if they are having a specific issue. Unfortunately, students do not have the luxury of being explained in a different way when taking an online course.
I found it interesting to read about how technology has progressed over time and how it affects our limitations as learners. Technology provides simplified ways to approach complex material. Since technology has helped math progress tremendously over the years, I find it very important to use it within the classroom, but I know not to rely on it. When making those lessons using technology, it is important to know the capability of your students so it is not too simple or too complicated. Therefore, you can maximize each student's learning experience.
After some of the comments in class today about the difficulties we may face teaching with technology, I began to consider the possibility that technology may be harmful in the classroom. Could technology take away from face-to-face teaching? Will teaching students about the advancements in calculators make it hard to teach them the details of how to solve the problem by hand? These thoughts worried me.
However, the reading for today turned my thoughts around. “Technology mediates learning” (Masalski, 348). The emerging programs and technology will only better the communication within the classroom. Especially with the development of wireless devices to instantly receive homework and see how the students are progressing. Even better, I realized that technology in math could help students learn the main and important concepts without having to worry about solving tedious computations. The math modeling programs will help students realize how math has real life applications and hopefully raise their interest in the subject. This chapter has made me very excited about teaching with technology!
I definitely agreed with the idea on page 347 that technology allows for the study of different approaches to usually complex procedures by breaking them down into simpler procedures, and I believe that this is one of the most important benefits of technology in a mathematics classroom. Every student has different learning abilities, and technology can help students maximize their understanding by giving different approaches to theories and topics. However, I did not agree with a statement following this idea that suggested students should use a computer to factor polynomials before learning how to do so by hand. I am a firm believer that one should learn how to do procedures by hand first, otherwise it will become all too easy to overly rely on the technology and in turn develop a less-thorough understanding of mathematical theory.
I also agree with the statement on page 348 that it is "not the technology that makes the difference but rather how it is used and by whom." Technology is definitely only a mediator of knowledge, and I have always found that the way a teacher uses technology and other classroom resources to engage a class is the factor that makes the material either interesting or boring.
I also agree with the idea on page 355 that "many mathematics students have difficulty with the production of symbolic notation." I have generally found typing math symbols on a computer to be very difficult without the aid of a special program, such as Latex, and even then the task is still challenging. Perhaps the development of more technology in math classrooms will help to solve this problem.