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.

Webquest, Google Earth, and Tech of the Week

These past few weeks have really opened my eyes to all the technologies available to classroom teachers. Webquest, Google Earth, primary sources, jing, and iClicker are all sources I plan on using when I become a teacher. The webquest is particularly helpful becase it incorporates higher order thinking skills as well as requires students to become familiar with navigating the web. For my webquest, I had students creating a monument for an Egyptian pharaoh. I could have had them look at books to complete this project, but making it into a webquest made it so much more interactive. They were able to go on online tours, watch videos, and had immediate access to a wide range of information. I feel that my students would benefit greatly from webquests and plan on incorporating them into my insturction.

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.

Latest Projects and Technologies of the Week

Since our last update via blogging as a class, we have accomplished a lot. Our two most recent projects were a WebQuest and a Google Earth activity. I really enjoyed the WebQuest because I was assigned data analysis. However, I'm horrible at math so I had to come up with something creative and fun-- for my sake. So I started thinking about current events that had to do with data. Then it hit me, the 2010 Census! So I began to work and came up with a pretty creative project that is suited for middle elementary students. I had them explore the U.S. Census' website for kids. Next, they had to gather information about the state of Illinois and a state of their choice. They first had to answer general questions about them then I had them look at numbers for amounts of toy stores, ice cream shops, theme parks, etc. Finally they graphed their findings in a bar graph. I also provided a website link that showed them step-by-step instructions of how to make a bar graph.

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.

Projects and Technology of the Week

As many others have said, I have enjoyed working on the various projects we have completed and learning about new technologies through the Technology of the Week presentations. The WebQuest project was one of my favorites because it enables students to do research on the internet in a guided manner. This will be useful for them in their education because research is required to complete many assignments in school, and it is incredibly important for students to learn how to find accurate sources and use the information to create a specific product. The WebQuests are also an interesting and fun activity for students to do, and they are yet another way to include a variety of activities in the classroom to engage students.

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.

Webquest, Google Earth, & Tech of the week

The google earth project that I just finished was something I found very interesting. I did not even know this existed and I think it's something that can be utilized in the classroom. I love that it's perfect for all ages, so every teacher can really use the benefits of it. I actually am using it right now for my history class and I find that it helps a lot with map assignments. Creating the actual tour is really easy and something that any teacher will be able to do. The other assignment we did in class was the web quest. One thing the education program at IWU stresses is that the future educators utilize as many resources as possible. I think the web quest is a great way to meet that. Being able to see other teachers lessons and ideas and collaborating with colleagues is so important. This helps educators find the best strategy for their particular classroom. I loved making the web quest because it gave me the experience of being in the teachers shoes.
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.

Google Earth

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.

Technologies of the Week

The technologies of the week that we have covered over the past few weeks have been interesting. I have not been aware of most of the recent technologies of the week, so learning about them will enable me to now have more resources to use the classroom.

The lesson on Jing was one of the most helpful. Although at first it seemed to be an extremely simple technology, I was able to see the many uses that it actually would have for teachers and students alike. It was easy to use, but still had relevance to many different types of lessons and activities.

Although I have heard of iClickers before and knew how they worked, I have never had the chance to actually use them. I was surprised with the ease of setting up the clickers to work with a PowerPoint. I could see many applications for clickers in an elementary classroom. Students would be excited to use them because they make it feel like you are playing a game. Also, students who are shy and worried about talking in front of the class could use the clickers without feeling nervous about participating in class.

Reflection on Techs of the week, webquest, GE

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.

Techs of the Week

Throughout the semester, I have really enjoyed learning about the different types of technology which have been presented. The technology I think I will use the most in the classroom is Google Earth. I think the vast array of programs which are already available for use make it a great program to incorporate in the history classroom, and with the new technologies that will soon be developed, it will only get better. Another program which I think would be very useful is the iClicker. I like this technology, because it would be good to use in order to see what point a class is at in terms of learning the material from a certain unit, and it will give insight into what areas need to be worked on more in order to get a class to the point they need to be by the end of the unit. I personally enjoy teacher tube a lot because this will be an easy way to both find information to show to my students, and it will also give me as a teacher a way to stay up to date on different informaiton in the teaching realm in a quick and easy way.

Google Earth and Tech of the Weeks

The Google Earth project actually turned out much better than I was expecting it to. I think its a concise and practical way to view real life uses of mathematics, and it lets the students view it in real world perspective instead of just out of a book. For the tech of the weeks, I enjoyed Jing and iClicker a lot. I think Jing would be a really good resource for going over problems on tests that students may have gotten wrong. That way they would be able to see the correct way of solving the problem, or would get to hear from me why I took a certain amount of points of if they only got partial credit. The iClicker would be really helpful for class participation and to determine the understanding or progress of a class. The harder part of using the iClicker though, would be to come up with enough multiple choice questions that would be worth using in class instead of time spent teaching the concept. I think finding the balance may be a little tricky, but overall possible.

Webquests, Techs, etc

I really enjoyed making my webquest. I think my topic, learning about the conquest of ancient civilizations, is extremely important and also very extensive. By making the webquest for my students and providing helpful websites, it really puts everything within their reach. They can navigate the internet and learn so much. Having them then take that information and re-use it in creating their own newspaper article is the biggest challenge and really requires them to follow the steps in the webquest closely. I think it would be a great project for the end of a unit in not only a foreign language classroom, but any classroom. I saw a lot of great webquests while sharing them in class. I would have loved to have the opportunity to do a webquest during high school!
The google earth activity was a little frustrating for me. I couldn't find a good file that fit my needs, so I had to adapt what I was supposed to be doing. In addition to that, I found it difficult to go to certain places and click on the boxes--my file had a lot of information, so I found myself constantly clicking on stuff on accident. Overall though, I think it turned out really well and I can definitely see the benefits of using it in class! I think in addition to a project/worksheet, it might also be nice view on a large screen and do class activities. This way, you can ensure that all students are seeing exactly what you want them to see.