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.


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 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 :)


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.


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.


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:
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.


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.