Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School

Welcome back to school!  I will use this blog as a resource for teachers, parents and students to follow our studies.  I welcome input and suggestions of sites, apps and information to add to our blog this year.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tool 11:

1. What are your favorite tools you now have in your personal technology toolbox? Briefly describe a particular activity that you will plan for your students using at least one of these new tools.

I really like Google Docs.  I have used it in the past, but now I have new level of understanding at how it can be used for interactive writing. not only for the students, but also for professional use when collaborating with colleagues.

2. How have you transformed your thinking about the learning that will take place in your classroom? How has your vision for your classroom changed? Are you going to need to make any changes to your classroom to accommodate the 21st Century learner?

I am really looking forward to having an opportunity to start the year fresh with my students and train them how to use the technology properly.  I am going to need to rotate my students through stations at the beginning of the year, so that they know how each piece of equipment works, how to log on and off of each device and what capacity each device has, at least on a surface level.  

I foresee my classroom becoming much more self directing as a result of having the freedom to explore student interest and the ability to present in a manner that fits individual learning style via technology.  It is very exciting.  I hope that I have the patience to deal with the technological difficulties that we may encounter.  Anything has to be better than what we have been dealing with over the past few years as our technology became more and more antiquated.

3. Were there any unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you?

I was surprised to learn how many resources the district has on their website and where to find the resources I need within the district resources.  I really had no idea about the depth of resources available to me as a teacher.  I was also excited to learn more about how to set up the Ipad for effective use in the classroom.  I was also surprised how much my own 8 year old daughter took to the new Ipad with the camera to film herself and create videos on all kinds of topics from duct tape to American Girl Doll play.  It helped to bring into focus what potential there is for the use of Podcasts in presentation for students.  It provides an incredible opportunity for student creativity.  I am excited for the new technology in my classroom.  

For your Tool #10 assignment:
In YOUR blog post:
1. Discuss at least three things you would want to make sure your students understand about being good digital citizens.
A. Students will understand how to access safe sites and what to do when they encounter the wrong information/ inappropriate information
B. Students will understand that whatever is written online is equivalent to speaking to someone face to face, so all interactions should be respectful of people and cultures.
C. Students will understand how to share new information without breaking copyright laws.

2. Share at least one of the resources mentioned above or on the Ed Tech website that you plan to use instructionally.
One resource that I liked for teaching digital citzenship was MouseTales on YouTube. First of all, it was made by fifth graders, so it shows students what a powerful tool the internetnet is: kids teaching kids. In addition, it is interactive. Students present situations and then react to them. In order to use the video to its maximum, the teacher will stop after or during each skit and discuss the students' choices. The class at that point could also brainstorm other appropriate reactions in each situation.
I will use the chart provided in 11 Tools as I am teaching Digital Citizenship this fall.

3. Explain briefly how you would "teach" the idea of digital citizenship to your students.
I think in years past, digital citizenship was addressed in the beginning of the year with ONE lesson and repeated reminders. I realize now that there is a lot to teach. I will be teaching more mini-lessons and requiring students to complete more stations on the computers/Ipads than I had previously required. I am just now realizing how much needs to be accomplished. I like the idea of having a chart that tracks students completion of various trainings that I expect students to complete, much like I track Bluebonnet reading. Students are in charge of completing and recording their accomplishments. I will follow the chart and encourage and assist those who are falling behind.

4. Explain briefly how you plan to share the idea of digital citizenship with your parents.
I will encourage all parents to allow students to fully participate in digital learning. I would like for all students to have an "ALL ACCESS PASS". I will explain my three goals as stated in question number one to parents. I will share the district website and digital lessons with parents highlighting a few clips of videos during the parent curriculum night. I will keep my blog updated, so that parents may see what I am learning, as well as, what the students are learning. I will encourage parents to Follow Edmodo so they can see what their children are communicating and have their own conversations with students about etiquette. I will communicate with parents how crucial it is for students to be able to use the technology, because if they do not learn to use, they will be left behind and struggling in the future. It is not only the future, it is the present.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tool #9 Assignment, create a new post in which you respond to the following:
  1. Why do you think it is important to tie the technology to the objective? It is important to tie technology to the objective, because in the world we live in today, technology is completely integrated. Students need to be able to navigate it seamlessly.Not all students have the same access to the technology at home and many parents today are less knowledgeable than the kids. Some adults are intimidated and therefore will not expose their children to it. School should be a place where kids have access to knowledge- the internet provides it. In addition, the tools available via technology are incredible.
  2. Why should we hold students accountable for the stations/centers? The more student realize that their actions on technology are tied to production, the more they will achieve. If they realize that free exploration is reserved for after goal accomplishment they will be continue to see how useful the tools are, but also how important time management is in school and life. Some students tend to get lost in their own thinking, so it is important to teach discipline with the use of technology. In the real world if we get lost in our games and searching, we do not accomplish our goals.
  3. Visit 2 of the applicable links to interactive websites for your content/grade level. Which sites did you like. How could you use them as stations? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations? I liked the Learning Games for Kids and Thinkfinity. I will link those to Edmodo and my blog this year. I will use Learning Games for Kids in History. There are some great interactive games in which the students can practice naming the states. I have been looking for a good game for the students to practice state names on the map. This is the best I have found. Students can practice at home or in class in a station and then the results will be reflected in their Regions' quizzes. There are also several other games for students to practice skills and expand their knowledge within various core subjects. I will require parts of the games and then allow for exploration within these sites during station time. I can see kids wanting to go to these in their spare time at home. I will make them easy to find on Edmodo and blog.
  4. List two to three apps you found for the iPod Touch/iPad that you can use in your classroom. What do you see that station looking like? How can you hold the students accountable for their time in these stations? I downloaded several apps for the Ipads. I really liked the Spring Branch list of Apps on the district webpage that is linked to 11 Tools. I found several Apps that will be useful for brainstorming for projects and helping students organize their thinking. They were iBrainstorm, icardSort (not free), and MindMash. I liked Playtime Theater, Puppet Pals. and Toontastic for students writing from various characters points of view and persons in history.Book projects for guided reading/ book club can be organized using these tools. In addition, reflection after studying content in history will use these tools. They provide an opportunity for application and synthesis of knowledge. Screen Chomp seems like a great app for students to upload their work to Edmodo with one click. I haven't tried it yet, but I think I will put in on the Ipads and have students spend time exploring in a station. I liked the Popular Mechanics QuakeTracker, ESO Top100, NASA AppHD, and NASA Visualization Explorer for independent reading for my science kids, who love non-fiction. They are visually rich as well.
  5. What about other ways to use the iPod Touch/iPad? Share another way you can see your students using the device as a station. As I said before, students will be using the Ipad for publishing with the keyboards and Googledocs. In addition, students can use the camera to create Podcasts that tell students about what they have learned. These can be published on Edmodo. They could be created for reactions to text in language arts, creating how to videos ( much like YoutTube videos). We will also use the Ipads for quick searches. The Ipads are faster for quick research since the whole log on process is not necessary. Students who brought their own used them this past year for that kind of searching. It will be great during read aloud to quickly look up information. Students can take control and it will free me to lead discussion and thinking.