Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Reflections on Webquest, Google Earth, and Tech of the Week

The past few weeks have given me a lot of ideas for using technology in my future classroom. Webquest was a very interesting project for me. It allowed for work to be done in a few subject areas rather than just one. My project used math skills, as well as social studies. I think it really gives students an opportunity to push themselves while seeing how the skills they learn in the classroom can work together in the real world. The only hesitation I have in using Webquest is that the activities seem to be geared more for older students, perhaps at the middle school and high school levels. Some of the material available to incorporate is a little too dense for elementary school. But there are certainly ways to make a Webquest activity more age appropriate. I think it is a great way to push critical thinking skills as well as allowing students to be independent in their work.

Having worked with Google Earth before during the Smart Board project, I enjoyed exploring the program in more depth this time around. I think that this is a great tool for giving students a chance to learn about the world around them, not only in a geographical sense, but also about culture and landmarks. Google Earth can provide basic information about places around the world if links are incorporated in the right way. It was actually enjoyable for me making the worksheet and learning about different places. I think Google Earth is an excellent tool for helping students relate one geographic location to another and be able to see actual satellite images of these places they are learning about. It gives them a deeper understanding than what they might get from a simple two-dimensional map in a textbook.

Tech of the week has continued to be very enlightening for me. I never knew that there were so many different tools out there that can really enhance lessons and be applicable to the school setting. I really like the iClicker. I have seen them used in classrooms in my observations so far and the students really seem to enjoy using them. It gives everyone an opportunity to be involved in a lesson or game, and that makes everything more exciting. I think Dipity is a great interactive tool for any age with virtually any subject area. It can really be beneficial in helping students organize thoughts, ideas, events, etc. The Java application provides interactive games as well that can present material in a new way that makes learning more enjoyable for students. I think my lessons will be able to reach the next level so I can engage my students much more easily than with a simple chalkboard and overhead projector.

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