Tuesday, April 6, 2010
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.
Google Earth really amazed me in terms of what it had to offer students. There is so much information available at students fingertips on Google Earth. This is both good and bad. It is good in the sense that there is a lot to explore and choose from when planning lessons, but it is bad because students may get lost, overwhelmed, and confused when working with Google Earth. That is why I think it is so important to create a recording to show students exactly where they will be going and what they will be doing. This eliminates confusion and provides clear direction to students.
Primary sources, jing, and iClickers are all excellent technologies that will be beneficial to me as a teacher. I liked primary sources because students get to work with real documents, letters, and sources that affected history. I believe that primary sources have the power to have a real affect on kids, especially in social studies. Jing is an excellent writing tool that I would most likely use if I taught older students. Elementary students typically do not submit papers electronically or type them out, but if they did I could see this tool being very beneficial. Finally, I liked iClickers because they have the ability to provide immediate feedback and encourage all students to participate. Too often students do not participate because they are embarrassed about not knowing the answer, but with this, no one has to know how others responded.
I am so glad to have learned about these technologies. It is so much easier incorporating technology into the classroom after you have a firm understanding of how they work. It is nice that I am getting this knowledge now as a pre-service teacher instead of having it all thrown at me my first year of teaching.
Our latest project, Google Earth was also interesting. I chose to have my students take a tour and gather information about the "Seven Wonders of the World". I liked this topic because each wonder is located in such a different place than the next. The tour I created went all over the world to show them how vast and different each place was. In the activity itself, I had YouTube videos linked to each question so they could actually see the wonder itself. I also linked Wikipedia pages to them as well so they could get a little bit of background information on each place. I had them conclude with an essay question that follows, "If you could nominate an eight wonder of the world, where would it be and why?" That way, students could pick a place they may have been or wished to go. It was a great social studies activity for the students.
Lastly, we have touched on a few technologies of the week. I really enjoyed iClicker and Jing. Each of those could definitely be used to make learning in the classroom more fun. I liked Jing because you could take really clear screen shots of anything you were doing. A student could use that technology for any sort of class or group project. I also liked the use of iClicker. It seems like a great way to get instant feedback on questions. I also like that it keeps information neatly stored for you (grading). I would love to have an iClicker station in my classroom one day. Overall I have really enjoyed all of the projects and technologies we have been working with lately, they have all proved themselves very useful and creative.
The two recent Technology of the Week presentations, Jing and iClickers, also seem to be a great way to keep students engaged. Jing will be helpful in the classroom when students must collaborate on a project, or when teachers would like to add annotations to student work to give to them as feedback. IClickers would be helpful at any grade level to quickly assess students to determine which concepts they understand and which need more explanation.
As far as the technology of the week goes, I felt like Iclicker was is something that many more schools are using today. It's fast, efficient, and reliable. I love how the students can be engaged and the teacher can get feedback on how she the class is doing. Also, it's great that students don't have to feel ashamed by their answer and embarrassed since other students won't know who answered what. This is great for teachers to assess how they are teaching and how well their students are understanding.
I believe that goggle earth would be a very interesting thing to use to supplement a lesson in history. I think it would be very interesting to map out events like the civil war and the word wars. It would be very useful to map out key battles and were treaties were signed and other events that shape these monumental events.
Another way to use this is having my students doing a similar project to what we did. This program is defiantly a high school level material but it is manageable and usable with only a little instruction. Overall this is a very useful program and im sure it will not be the last time I use this program.
One of my favorite activities that we have done in class is the webquest. I really enjoyed making an activity for the students to do. The main reason that I like the webquest so much is because of the Internet aspect. By using the Internet to research data the webquest teaches students how to use credible sources. Also the webquest provides teachers and students alike to gain new information in a fun and interesting way.
The Google Earth project was very similar to the webquest project in that we made a worksheet for students to find the answers to using Google Earth. Google Earth is a very powerful tool and contains many cool features that I previously did not know about, like 3D models and the ability to view mars and the mood. While I found it challenging to incorporate a math lesson in Google Earth, I still feel that it is a valuable tool, just perhaps not the best for a math class.
As always our class explores a new technology each week called technology of the week. Recently we have gone over primary sources, jing, and Iclicker. Of these three technologies I find that Iclicker is the technology, which best fits the math class. While jing (a screen capturing tool) and the primary sources on the Internet may be great tools for an English or history class, they have very limited use in the math classroom.
Iclicker is a way for students to take quizzes and answer questions electronically and anonymously. A math teacher could make a quick quiz to test the student’s knowledge about definitions or terms in math and ask them to either pick true or false or just pick the correct answer. The Iclicker certainly has its limitations with only being able to do multiple choice or true and false questions, however I feel that it is a very powerful tool. One of its advantages is that it is completely anonymous, so students wont feel pressured and worry about getting the answer wrong in front of their peers. Another advantage is the games that come with Iclicker. Although they were not talked about in class there are games that students can play either separately or in teams. These games bring a new aspect to learning which should act to increase the students interest level.
All in all I continue to be amazed with all of the new technologies we learn in class. I can see myself using a majority of these technologies in my classroom in the future.