Final Blog

 

After participating in EDU 350, I now have a better understanding about the functions of technology in the classroom. Coming in, I was unaware of the vast amounts of resources we have available to us as teachers. I have learned so much and I will continue to experiment with technology.

I have learned how to use several different sites and resources. I found Digo, for example, to be extremely helpful because it allowed me to bookmark several different resources that can be used in teaching, whether it be lesson plans or information. I also learned how to make a screen cast and use recordings in power point. I had never done anything other than a simple slide presentation before. Finally, a big take away I have from this course is the importance of technology in engaging students. Technology can make boring instruction-based learning more stimulating for students, keeping them engaged and interested in what they are learning.

I have a much more positive outlook on technology now. Previously, I had little experience with technology other than basic operations like Microsoft Word. I now know how to integrate technology into my classroom using a variety of different resources. This course has helped to bring up my confidence level immensely. I would like to continue to find new technology resources and ways to integrate technology into my lesson plans. As a future educator, I found this course to be extremely helpful in that it enabled me to develop greater technological skills and collaborate with other teachers online to learn more about how to create an effective classroom.

 

 

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Twitter Chat #4

For my fourth Twitter chat, I participated in the #flipclass chat, a chat devoted to the importance and usage of the flipped classroom. The overall theme of the chat revolved around flipped classroom best practices and techniques used to keep students engaged. One of the questions asked was the following: “flipped classrooms provide a framework with lots of opportunity for customization. How do you describe your flipped classroom?” The most common descriptions I cam across were video lessons in Ss space and group/interactive work in class with access to lessons as needed. Katie Lanier described her classroom process as planning on the fly. She has students watch videos for homework, mostly information relay. In class, students then apply the learned concepts to group activities or independent projects. I learned that it is of utmost importance that a teacher creates a plan for those who do not understand the content and for those who do. This enables students to learn at their own pace, and teachers can make different videos catered to students’ needs. Roy reasons that an essential benefit of the flipped classroom is that it can be made to be student-focused. He makes time to interact with students and gives them more time to show him rather than him showing them. Another question asked was “what problems does a flipped classroom solve in the classroom?” The majority of the participants agreed that the biggest benefit of having a flipped classroom is that it increases student collaboration and engagement in learning activities. Students are more likely to engage in their own learning if the 1. have more control over their own learning and 2. have some knowledge of the content they’re working with. The best part about flipping is not the video, but rather it is what you can do in class when students have a base knowledge of the material. I also learned that the flipped classroom allows for a quicker amount of team between knowledge acquisition and knowledge application, making for a far more effective learning environment for students. Overall, the flipped classroom provides greater access, equity, and support in the learning environment.

Katie shared an interesting link about in-Class flipped classrooms: https://flippedlearning.org/syndicated/whats-class-flip/ …

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I found this link to be extremely helpful because it introduced me to a new type of flipped classroom. I did not know that there were different forms of flipping the classroom besides the traditional method I learned about. In-class flip brings the flip into the classroom by switching it up and doing the homework part in the classroom in stations. There are several different types of in-class flips, including mixed sequence stations (students move at their own paces through flip and practice stations), simple sequence stations (stations are sequenced and students go through them in order), and larger class sequence stations (duplicate stations in a sequenced format, all students begin at the flip station). This allows for greater teacher involvement and facilitation over classroom activities because they can ensure that the work is being done. It is also helpful for students who may not have internet access at home because they can still partake in the lesson in class. Throughout this chat, I followed Katie Lanier, a physics teacher, instructional coach to special education, and flipclass chat moderator. I especially liked what Katie had to say with regards to flipped classroom techniques that can be applied inside the classroom rather than just outside of it. I also followed Roy Mittchell, a flipped classroom middle school science teacher and Flipped Learning International Ambassador. Joy McCourt, a high school math and science teacher, is new to the flipped classroom. She is trying it out for the school year and really likes it. She has taken an interesting approach to the concept as she has been having her students create their own videos for their peers. Likewise, Kurk Humphreys is a math teacher for grades 6-8. He had several comments to make regarding in-class flip. He has found the technique to be extremely helpful in ensuring that his students are on task and completing all of their work. Finally, I chose to follow Mickie Gibbs, a middle school math teacher, who has encouraged other teachers throughout her school to incorporate more flipped classroom practices. The flipped classroom is becoming more prevalent in the teaching environment, so it is essential that prospective teacher learn more about how to incorporate the concepts into their classrooms. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed this chat because it was interesting and easy to follow. The chat followed a question answer format and everyone was responding to the questions rather than creating new threads and ideas. I liked that the chat was monitored and organized because it kept people on topic as opposed to the last chat I participated in, which I found to be highly disorganized and all over the place.

 

 

Smart board Lesson Review

 

After giving my SmartBoard lesson, I found the software pretty difficult to use. I think it would be made easier if I had some sort of glove or pointer that allowed me to click on things easier. I think the oils on my hand were interfering because sometimes I would try to drag items and they would not move. I also felt that the board was very sensitive. If, for example, I tried to drag or tap something it would highlight something else or act as though I was using the editing tool. It was hard for me to grasp some of the concepts to make certain activities work, such as having a circle either accept or spit out an answer. I do, however, think that this tool is extremely useful in the classroom as it enhances student learning. It makes it easier for teachers to interact with students in the lesson. By having students come up and write on the board or do a game, it keeps them more engaged in the learning process as well. There is such a wide range of activities and simulations teachers can run on the smart board. It also had pre-made activities that can help teachers form lesson plans if they are stuck on how to reach their students.

If I had to redesign and teach this lesson again in class, I would have included more student involvement. While I did not get to the part in my lesson where the students would work together and then present their answers on the smart board, my lesson could have benefited from more student involvement. I could have incorporated more games, such as a matching game that mathers an equation to a positive or negative slope. This would help the students to not only visualize slopes, but it would also keep them more engaged. In math it is hard to not be entirely teacher directed because I have to show them how to do the problems first, but upon further research I may be able to find an activity that allows students to learn it in a more hands-on approach rather than just following my notes. Likewise, I came across several different activities by watching other presentations that I would love to use in future lessons. I really liked, for instance, the incorporation of sounds into the smart board lessons. Several students used sounds to match to words, which helped with student engagement because it capitalized on more than one sense at a time (sight and sound). I did not even think to do that in my lesson.  I also liked Carly’s and Katie’s incorporation of videos into their lessons. My lesson would have been benefited from incorporating a video on slope. I found a good video that my professor in high school showed me that compared the slope of a line to a roller coaster. This helped me to visualize how a slope transitions from positive to negative more easily. I enjoyed Caitlyn’s use of the family tree as well. I found it to be very creative. That is a good activity that I could modify to implement in my lesson. Instead of a family tree, I could use  more of a chart that includes the different forms of a line (slope intercept, point slope, and standard). Then I could have a bunch of equations instead of names, and they could have to combine the equations to put them in the correct boxes/categories. This would help students understand the different types of linear equations while also allowing them to be active contributors to their own learning. I really thought that Kennedy’s use of the numbers was a very good idea. It helped keep the students organized, and it ensured that each student was actively participating in the lesson. This would help the teacher gauge student understanding because it would prevent students who don’t participate from missing the lesson. I would use this in math and assign numbers. I could then use a random number generator on a calculator to pick the number at fandoms (students love that kind of thing) as I have seen my calculus teacher do in the past. This would encourage all students to pay attention and focus on the lesson. Finally, I liked how Dallas used an activity where students came up and drew a line to match the correct French word worth the correct article of clothing. This made me think about different pictures or things I could put on the screen and then have students write on to fill in the blanks. For example, if I included a large empty graph, students could come up and plot the points and then find the slope by drawing a triangle themselves. This would help them to visualize the scenario better because they would be able to interact with the smart board more. Overall, this was a great learning experience, and as I learn more about different smart board techniques, I hope to use them in my real lessons as a future teacher.

Twitter Chat #3

For my third twittter chat, I participated in the #edchat, a twitter chat geared towards all educators. The main topic of discussion was about innovation. As many of us know, innovation is huge in the classroom, especially with all the improvements in technology that are being implemented in classrooms. The moderators wanted to know about different examples of innovation fellow teachers were implementing into their classrooms. They talked a lot about different online and technological tools that are being used to help reach students. Specific examples that were given include flipping classroom and one-to-one iPads. Shawn Thomas’s high school, for example, has gone one to one with iPads, providing one for each student that they can use to access homework, review materials, and communicate with both peers and teachers. iPads in the classroom makes it easier for students and teachers to communicate outside the classroom environment. Teachers can easily give feedback to students, allowing them to improve and resubmit their work. Another technique that was talked about was flexible seating. Tom Whitby found this especially effective in his middle school classroom. Using different seating arrangements helps to engage students by seating them in small collaborative groups. I also learned about innovation on the teacher front. Robert suggested that teacher development is essential to implementing innovation in the classroom. Teachers must be aware of technological improvements and trends in order to implement them effectively in the classroom. He also believes that it is essential to move towards a more competency-based education system, especially within the K-12 system. Such a system lets teachers evaluate students so as to demonstrate what they already know. It thus follows that teachers can shape their programs to study only the competencies that their students need to reach the next level of education. Shawn Thomas shared a very interesting link https://scratch.mit.edu/ that her son uses in elementary school that he seems to really enjoy. The website is called scratch, and it enables students to interact with one another and it promotes student creativity. It allows students to share and create stories, games, and animations and share them with the rest of the world. Students can not only collaborate with their fellow peers, but also with students around the world. Teachers and students can create interactive stories to help each other learn different concepts. I found this site particularly useful and interesting because it is a way for students to have fun while learning and it enhances student engagement in learning.

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During my chat, I chose to follow Shawn Thomas, who is a fellow educator and edchat co-moderator. She is an elementary school teacher, and she enjoys implementing new advancements into her classroom that help keep students engaged. I also followed Robert Marzano, co-founder and CEO of Marzano Research Laboratory. He translates research and theory into educational practice. I found what he had to say on teacher knowledge and involvement in technological training. Likewise, I followed Tom Whitby, a longtime teacher of both high school and middle school for 34 years, and college for 6. He is the moderator and founder of edchat. He has successfully created a personal learning network among teachers. David Franklin, a professor of education, principal, and co-moderator of #bendinged chat. Finally, I followed Jenny K, a technology integrationist at Curry Ingram Academy. She works to inspire technology training among teachers. She was especially helpful in offering advice to teachers about allowing students some control over their topics of learning to keep them engaged. Overall, I did not like this chat as much as the other chats I have participated in. It was not as well organized in a question answer format. A lot of people were not even answering the specific topic. It was overwhelming to see so many people participating and saying different things. Also, the topic never really changed. Other chats have had different questions that all relate, but this chat did not give any questions aside from the very first introduction topic. I feel like this prevented quality discussion from occurring. It would help next time if they tried to provide more questions that will elicit multiple responses.

Twitter Chat #2

For my second twitter chat, I participated in #4thchat, a twitter chat geared towards early and elementary education teachers. I chose this chat in particular because I am a secondary education major and I thought it would be interesting to see the different perspectives of teachers of the other end of the spectrum. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and see how a typical early education classroom functions. There was not a general theme to the chat, but rather several different topics were discussed. There was a lot of talk about how different events going on in the world could be integrated into classroom activities and curriculum. For example, one of the questions was “what are some of the ways we can help students celebrate National Women’s History Month?” Another was “The Iditarod Dog Sled Race begins on March 3rd. What are some pup related lessons you could incorporate as you follow the race?” Some responses included following the race and making a diagram or drawing pictures about what was seen, or students could write a persuasive essay asking their folks to let them have a pup. It was interesting to see how different the material being discussed on this chat was compared to other chats I had stumbled across or the previous chat I blogged about. The content of this chat was very different because it had a much more basic and elementary feel, which is appropriate because the material is intended for young children.

The biggest topic talked about was the specific events that the teachers were planning to celebrate during the month of March. The two biggest events that several teachers recommended were March Book Madness and Read Across America. The March Book Madness is just a locally started program in which students and teachers within the school compete to see who can read the most books throughout the month of March. Much like the basketball March Madness, this event creates healthy competition for the students and motivates them to read more often. The students are put into teams with a teacher representative, and every individual on the team is expected to read and log as many books as they can. When the event is over, the teams will have totaled their number of books read collectively and the winners are recognized at a school board meeting. I thought that this was a good event because it prompted students to read more and it encouraged them to embrace the importance of reading as well. Jennifer, an elementary teacher emphasized her appreciation for the event: “They will likely get excited and work together- what a great project! Parents love projects they understand and can help with- especially if their child is into it! Well done.” Likewise, I learned about an interesting event that will be embraced my many different schools across the country called Read Across America. Nancy, the monitor of the chat, posted a helpful link to describe the importance of the event (https://t.co/m8nPOzjrAi). Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2, the birthday of the children’s author Dr. Seuss. Many of the teachers in the chat are creating events much like the March Book Madness to encourage students to embrace reading across America.  Nancy states that her entire school is doing Read Across America on Friday, and they plan to have about 70 readers from all local TV, sports teams, Sheriff dept, school board etc. come and read with the children. This is an important event that many of the students are looking forward to. It is essential that these prominent figures in society come and read with the kids because it helps the children to develop a greater love for reading because they look up to such people. The kids will likely learn many things along the way when building such relationships. As a teacher, one wouldn’t be able to teach that. This project builds confidence within the children that I believe can lead to greater academic success.

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 From the participants in the chat, I chose to follow Nancy Carroll, a former 4th grade teacher, digital learning coach, and co-moderator of the chat. Nancy helped the conversations to flow effectively as she was responsible for creating the questions. She would post a question and her response to it to guide the chat, and after some time and responses had passed, she would introduce a new question. I found this technique to be extremely helpful because it enabled me to follow the chat without becoming overwhelmed with all of the information. I also followed Paula Naugle, the other moderator of the 4thchat, current 4th grade teacher, and Ambassador for Seesaw and Edmodo. I enjoyed her commentary on how she was going to use the dog race to help her students with persuasive writing. Jennifer Regruth, co-moderator of the 4thchat and Seesaw ambassador, provided great information on how programs such as the Book March Madness can influence student learning and development. I followed Mark Stafford mainly because he had both and interesting personality and interesting comments. To me, he was the epitome of an elementary school teacher. When I think of an elementary school teacher, something like his bio comes to mind: “I live in my own world, teach 4th grade, play the uke, like fairy tales, flipflops, and fish.” He had several creative ideas regarding kahoot and ozbots in the classroom. The last person I followed was Peg Volak, a second-grade teacher, Seesaw ambassador, and Flipgrid Ambassador. She talked mainly about bringing technology to the classroom in an effective way without interrupting or distracting students. Overall, I enjoyed this twitter chat because it was different from the normal criteria I would’ve chosen because it applied to an area of which I did not have any experience. I did, however, enjoy learning about how the different levels of education use different teaching styles and activities within the classroom.     

Twitter Chat #1

For my first twitter chat, I participated in the #edtechchat, hoping that it would relate to some similar topics that we covered in class. The chat had an overall theme regarding the use of technology in the classroom. The objective of the chat was to understand the importance of technology in education and the contributions it can bring to students, teachers, and staff. The group spoke of how teachers can use technology in their classroom to present information and share their stories to help relate and connect with their students. They also talked about how essential it is to relate and connect with colleagues, which can also be aided with the use of technology. I learned, for example, that teachers can use blogs, twitter chats, youtube, facebook live, and Instagram to connect with their students and other faculty members. Todd, one of the leaders of the chat, claimed that he finds it important to collaborate with his colleagues and learn their stories because it helps him to be a better teacher as well. By learning about the lesson plans or technological applications of other teachers, he can improve his own techniques in his classroom. He states the following: “I’m pushing myself to learn from colleagues by observing them in their classrooms, seeking feedback, and watching what they’re showing the.” Communication is key in the workplace because it builds relationships, which, in turn, builds character and success as a teacher. Several participants touched on the specific activities they done in class previously to help their students realize their agency in learning. I found this to be extremely helpful because it enabled me to see what techniques have worked for other teachers in the past to give me an idea how I want to run my classroom in the future. Elementary school teacher Cindy O’Brien notes that she reads diverse stories to help build empathy in her classroom. “It’s the perfect first step to begin to educate yourself and connect with others who aren’t like you. Our country is divided enough. We must learn more about our differences,” she says. I agree with her because I believe that it is essential to learn about all different religions, sexual orientations, racial inequalities, family orientations, gender inequalities, and foster care as it helps the teacher relate to his/her students on a deeper level. If one can relate to his/her students, then he/she will create a more trusting relationship with students and give them a higher incentive to learn if they value the one teaching them.

Likewise, a few participants made a reference to a link for Flipgrid (https://flipgrid.com/cee8f4 )  because they use it in a lot of their classrooms. The Flipgrid link shared was a video discussion on why one loves teaching because valentine’s day is around the corner. I had no idea what this was, so I did some research on the tool. Flipgrid is where students can go to share ideas and learn together. It’s video the way students use video in other social media sites. According to my research, “it is the leading video discussion platform used by tens of millions of PreK to PhD educators.” Basically, it works by having the teacher add a topic to spark a discussion. His/her students then share short video responses to start a dialogue. This is a very beneficial educational tool because it allows students, teachers, and faculty to communicate and discuss classroom lessons, enabling greater respect and rapport.

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Based on the participants in the chat, I chose to follow Todd Nesloney, principal at Webb Elementary school in Texas, TEDx Speaker, NSBA 20 to Watch & Co-Author of #KidsDeserveIt & #SparksInTheDark. I also followed Susan Bearden, one of the leaders of the edtechchat. She is an edtech consultant, the Co-mod of edtechchat, and a senior of edpioneers, which “develops & connects professionals with education roles to solve problems outside the classroom so students & teachers succeed inside the classroom.” The third person I followed was Cindy O’Brien, an elementary school physical education teacher from Hueytown Elementary. She spoke about the importance of fitness to students, especially as it relates to focus and motivation in the classroom. Alex Podchaski also provided some interesting commentary on technology in the classroom. He is the director of technology for a K-12 school, also an edtech chat moderator, and CETL certified. I especially liked what he had to say about diverse methods of instruction and differentiated learning in the classroom. Last but not least, I followed Whitney La Rocca, Co-author of Patterns of Power and a K-5 Lit Coach. She emphasized how she enjoys working with and learning from other adult learners. Overall, I found my experience in my first twitter chat to be extremely welcoming and informative as it helped me to gain a greater understanding of how current teachers are implementing technology in their classrooms.

Technology in the Classroom

After watching the video, I have become aware of new methods of teaching students by integrating them into the world of technology. Physically, the layout of a technological classroom differs greatly from that of the traditional model. The desks, for example, were put into the formation of a circle, allowing greater student interaction and cooperation. Instead of everyone working silently on his/her own or sitting in rows, these students had greater access to each other and the teacher. Because the students were seated in a circle-like format, it enabled them to work together on their ipads to solve problems, complete presentations, and turn in work online. I remember seeing students using apps, such as word web to help them with their spelling words. Students could look up a word that they did not know the meaning of and the website would give them several definitions. Students also collaborated on math problems together by solving them and communicating with one another on the ipads themselves.

Furthermore, students seemed to be highly receptive of the technological advances in their classroom. They seemed to enjoy using their ipads to connect with each other, play educational games, and develop a sense of ownership over their own learning. One student claimed that she liked using the ipads because when you need help, the device is right there. You do not have to get out a calculator to solve a math problem, or a pen and paper to take notes. Rather, it is all on the same device and can be pulled up with just the click of a button, allowing for easier access. Another student reasoned that work in the classroom would be far different without the ipads because they are critical to more efficient learning. By using the ipads, he says, he can get his work done much faster and more efficiently than by pen and paper. It opens the students up to greater resources and enables them to complete their work in a timelier fashion. Likewise, the teacher stated his value for the use of technology in the classroom as he stated that it enabled him to check work quicker. Because students submit their work to him via email or online, he and other students can submit feedback, whether it be on a paper, presentation, power point, etc. After they receive the feedback, students can make changes to their work and fix the problems to resubmit it for a better grade. The teacher can have faster response time to students as well. He claimed that he checks his students’ work while they are still in class working on something because he has the device right in front of him. Using ipads also cuts down on missing and late work, he says. Everything is digital, so there are no longer loose papers floating around or excuses for leaving textbooks or works at home. His objective is to encourage his students to reach a place to where they no longer need him. The goal, he notes, is to enable his students to learn either with or without him.    

There were several different forms of differentiated instruction in the classroom. Students had the ability to guide their own learning through their use of the ipads. A key part of differentiated instruction is to give students some independence in how they learn. Guide them, but also allow them to explore and discover on their own. By having greater autonomy over their own learning, students respond better to what is being learned. They are more likely to engage in classroom discussion and encode information if they are interested in the subject matter and have had a chance to learn the material in a manner that fits their learning style. In the video, students could control how they learned the content material, whether it be through highlighting on the ipad while reading, playing word and spelling games, looking up definitions, solving math problems, taking notes on the ipad, or even collaborating with other students via email. The use of technology in this circumstance was different from what I had experienced/anticipated. I thought that the use of technology mainly would revolve more around the use of computers, not ipads. In my past experience with technology in the classroom, students preferred to use their phones and such devices to access social media. Therefore, I also figured that because they were using ipads, students would be more interested in playing games or texting and using social media than doing their work. This, however, was not the case. Students were actively engaged in their work at all times and only used the texting or emails to collaborate on group work with other students or the teacher. f47d2b5437cb4f3a653d085946202bee--technology-lessons-technology-tools

Overall, I am not very comfortable in teaching in this kind of environment because I do not have a lot of experience with more recent technological advances. I have never been good at using computer software or being on top of the most recent use for smart phones or social media. My concern would be that I would not have enough background usage on the use of such devices in the classroom, and thus I would not be able to adequately teach the students how to use them either. I also would be afraid that I would not be aware of the most recent technological trends and would get behind in the most current uses for technology. If I am not aware of the more recent apps or programs that my students know how to use, then I cannot help to facilitate their learning. When I was in school, we did not have a lot of technology use in the classroom aside from computers. We would use computers for basic programs like power point, word, and excel. As a teacher, however, I think that in the 21st century, it is important to incorporate a greater use of technology in the classroom. As a 21st century teacher, personalized instruction is incredibly important to student learning. Every student learns in a different way, but through the use of technology, I can cater to the individual needs of students. With the use of ipads, for example, students can have greater control over how they learn the material in a way that better fits their individual learning styles. I also think that it is important in the 21st century to stay in direct communication with students, faculty, and families at all times. Technology makes it easier to collaborate with students. It helps to build connections with families by enabling them to view student work, grades, and performance, and contact teachers if necessary. Learning new methods of technology are essential to be a teacher today because our world relies so heavily on the use of technology. My goal as a prospective teacher is to implement technology, such as ipads into my classroom in order to foster greater student growth and permit students to lead their own learning/research.      

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” – David Warlick