Saturday, October 31, 2009
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
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
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.
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 :)
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
Friday, October 16, 2009
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
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.
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
Sunday, October 4, 2009
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.
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.
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.
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
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
Thursday, October 1, 2009
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.