Farewell Fellow Bloggers!

I have never been a fan of excel and even after this weeks assignment I still feel that there is much work that I can do to improve on my skills. I struggled with the IF function, making sure that my wording of the equation was correct and it translated correctly to the excel worksheet. Also, when I had to replace the weather temperatures with words I was able to make a separate column with the words, but could not put them in the physical place of the numerical temperatures. I found that part of excel a bit challenging. Also, I am a very visual learning so I like making my worksheets very organized and colorful, which excel helps me to do very easily. I like the organizational quality Excel gives me and it keeps my information in order. I can see myself using excel to keep my students grades in order, but nothing past that extent.

After looking through my classmate’s blogs I would like to look into Prezi and Schoology. I had never heard of schoology before and they provide you with many helpful tools in teaching. Also, I have been exposed to Prezi before, but have not really had an opportunity to really play around with it and use it for lessons. I think Prezi’s are like Powerpoints but with more animation and interaction. I would also like to learn more about Excel since I am not confident in my skills with it yet and want to be able to use it to my advantage.

For myself personally, incorporating technology into my future career is definitely possible but a bit challenging. I want to work with elementary students, primarily k-3. These grades can definitely benefit from educational games, interactive power points, videos and peripherals such as posters all around the classroom, but I also believe that younger grades should not be exposed to too much education. I really enjoy the idea of using social media and teacher website in a classroom, but those are tools that would not be appropriate for my age group of students. I will try to incorporate technology appropriate for my level of teaching in my future career, but I think I will run into more obstacles than a teaching with less limits on what their students can be exposed to.

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Can you excel in the Excel program?

Peripherals and non-computer technology can easily be incorporated into classrooms through diagrams, posters, CD’s and even items on a teacher’s desk. Non-technological peripherals often times allow kids to physically interact with them, by seeing them in 3D and being able to touch and explore them. In a classroom I would think to use audiotapes along with the books we are reading in class and using pictures and posters to incorporate visuals into my lessons. Also, I’ve learned that powerpoints can be turned into fun and educational games and journeys to teach my students.

The web-based resource I would use in a classroom is here! The website is called commtechlab and it provides teachers with many different ways to get their students involved in the classroom. It provides you with links to virtual field trips, collaborative work assignments, research, kids corner and other educational resources to use. When you first look at the website it seems a little childish with its creativity element but it has references to many teachers and websites that shows its credibility. The appearance could be a bit more professional but the sources provided are very useful.

This website also provides you with small reviews of each website provided and gives you appropriate age groups for the site and certain highlights of its information. This website can provide teachers with a bases for websites to use in different lesson types and assignments. This resource can be used be only the teacher or the teacher can recommend certain websites found on it to their own students so they can use them outside of the classroom. I would recommend this website to new teachers who are having trouble trying to figure out where and how to get started with lesson plans and activities for their students.

Excel will be helpful for me in a classroom to organize all my grades. It allows you to input grades, calculate averages, and add curves. It would be simple and allow you to do grades neatly without mixing them up or entering them wrong. Excel allows you to see any calculations and formulas used to come up with the numbers shown in the spreadsheet. Excel would mainly be an organization tool for my grades and other information. It is helpful to keep track of items and allows you to manipulate. Excel, although intimidating at first can help you get a lot more organized with your numbers/info.

After working on PowerPoint this week I learned how to make interactive storybooks and properly functioning quiz questions. The interactive story would be a great teaching tool for young students who can become a part of the lesson. I am not able to effectively connect slides through action buttons. Before this lesson I did not realize you could order a PowerPoint to go to whichever slide you’d like based on specific buttons. I found these very helpful in creating my story with questions. I found the lesson fairly easy to complete once I learned how to connect my slides, the only thing I do not like about making powerpoints is that they are time consuming when you are trying to make them creative, colorful and organized. I definitely plan to use PowerPoint for interactive quizzes with my class in the future.

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The Digital Divide

Presentation software in the k-12 classroom posses many advantages and disadvantages, but I think that the advantages outweigh the disadvantages. Most disadvantages that come along with presentations is that they may not be very interactive with students, a teacher is just lecturing with slides to go along with it. This problem can easily be fixed and we’ve seen this through our past assignments. It is very easy to turn a presentation into an interactive learning experience, by adding games, questions or quizzes. Also, a presentation may not be available to a student outside of the classroom if they needed it for reference. Presentations can be edited in such a way that a teacher can provide a printed version that will provide the student with all the essential information. The many advantages of presentations are that they allow students to have a visual concept to relate the lectures too, and they are also learning through technology. Presentations can ease technology into a classroom to help kids learn, they are not difficult to create and use and it is an easier way to get information across. Also, using a presentation such as a PowerPoint or webquest helps to teach students how to correctly use technology for the future and can also be very interactive and fun. Technology is slowly making its way into classrooms, so presentations help students to adjust to that change.

I think that I can against the digital divide. I do not think it is fair that some students have a technological advantage over others because of factors the student cannot control. I think that all students should be given the same opportunities so they can succeed in the future. Personally, I have been fortunate enough to always have access to the changing technologies to learn and make things easier for me. I think that although I was more privileged, this does should not give me an advantage in the corporate world. Jobs are now looking to eliminate the pen and paper altogether, making everything online; but if they are going to make that change they have to take into consideration those who were not as fortunate as I and be willing to train certain individuals before just handing job over to someone more confident in their technological skills. In my future classroom I will try and incorporate technology into my teachers as much as possible and make sure to provide access to this information to all my students. I would not want a student to fall behind because they don’t have the resources others do. I will work with those students who are not as confident in using technology and help them to improve and provide them with the necessary tools to do so. When I am a teacher I will not want to digital divide, instead I want all my students to be confident in their technological abilities.

Being in school for over 13 years now, I have seen my fair share of different types of teachers and professors. I think that one of the biggest issues with technology in relation to education is the older generations of teachers who are hesitant, unwilling, or uninformed about using technology in the classroom. I think this is a big issue because the older generations do not know how to utilize technology to help improve their students learning, while a teacher across the hall could be incorporating websites, presentations, and other forms of learning with education. Having such a range of teacher does not ensure that all students are learning the same way and some may be gaining valuable information about technology they can use in the future, while others are lagging behind. I think that all teachers should have to go through specific workshops where they can all learn the same skills to incorporate different learning methods using technology. This will help students to learn better and all be on an even playing field. Technology is making its way into the classroom, but many teachers are not prepared for this and cannot use it to their advantage. This article, although published a few years back still hits on key points about teachers and their inability to incorporate technology into learning, it shows the negative effects if has on student learning versus those who use technology: http://blogs.kqed.org/mindshift/2013/02/are-teachers-of-tomorrow-prepared-to-use-innovative-tech/

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PowerPoints, Yay or Nay?

PowerPoint is definitely a helpful and easy tool to use to expand student knowledge just by the amount of graphics, visuals and multimedia you can place in it. As a visual learner, PowerPoint’s in class were always favorable to me and I think by incorporating the three knowledge dimensions into the lesson it makes it even easier to learn. Based on the book, the three dimensions are conceptual, factual, and procedural. The factual portion of a lesson can be easily shown through one or two PowerPoint slides with short bullet points of information. The slides can have a tid-bit of information while you expand upon it in your lecture. As your presentation furthers on you can show the conceptual aspects by adding flow charts and concept maps into your PowerPoint’s. PowerPoint is great and letting you add transitions and different ways to show how things relate or connect in a media way rather than just plane lines and arrows. Finally, for procedural portion of your presentation you can use video examples of multimedia creation tools so students can work together solve problems presented in front of them. Also, you can even make it fun and add your own audio of yourself asking examples. It allows you to make your own examples and even lets you speak even when you don’t want to. If a PowerPoint is created well, students will get the most out of the information put into it.

Adaptive technologies help students who have disabilities and they allow them to learn just as well as those around them. It is a step towards making learning non-discriminatory. A student may need essential tools to help them overcome the learning disabilities they possess and this is what adaptive technology does. A few examples of adaptive technologies can be handicap entrances to classrooms for those wheelchair bound, headphones/hearing aids for students who have trouble hearing the teacher and their lessons or ways to improve a students ability to see the board or projector in class. I am fortunate enough to have not had to use any of these technologies but I do know students who needed headsets to better hear videos being played for the class or one student who needed a magnifier to see the notes written on the board, this student was also allowed to sit closer to the board than the rest of the students. I think adaptive technologies are there to help tremendously but challenges will still arise. Schools may not have the funding for such things to help better a child’s education, or a teacher may unknowingly not speak loud enough for a kid with hearing aids. Young students are not always likely to speak up when they have issues in class, so I student with a disability may need a better tool to help them learn but they will stay quiet. The teacher must have great communication with the disabled students so they can always be on the same page with their learning. Also, I would personally always be worried that my student did not feel as if they were being treated as equally as the others, so my own worries could also be a challenge with adaptive technology.

I had a great time creating my WebQuest for my class. It made me feel like a real teacher and got me excited for the future. It was fun and I was presented with copious amounts of opportunity to have my students interact through the website, but I felt a bit overwhelmed by the amount of work that went into it. I was not expecting this to be a simple task but I found myself working at it all day to make it functional, appealing, fun and informative for my lesson. For the future time management will definitely be a necessity when making another WebQuest, but I do plan to use them because I think it is a great way for students to be independent and find their way through the website while learning and doing the tasks. If the effort is put into making it I think it will definitely show, and it will make learning easier.

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Would you know a fake website if you saw one?

As a teacher I would definitely maintain a course website for my students. I feel that although it takes a bit of time to create the website once it is finished it allows you to organize all your announcements and assignments in one place. Course websites can have all assignments, readings, due dates, and anything else class related so it is easy for students to access. Also this makes it easier for a teacher because you’re constantly referring to one place for your student’s submissions and questions. Nothing is scattered and it is easy to go in and edit certain things. Having a course website does not only benefit you with organization and order, but it teachers your students to be independent. They will learn to periodically check the course website and keep track of their assignments themselves. You can post weekly reminders to keep them on track, but ultimately they need to remember to do the work. I think course websites benefit both student and teacher. It takes the stress out of constantly passing out tons of various papers and having to keep everything in order. You make it all online and accessible to only your students. As a student now, blackboard is my savior when it comes to my professors posting assignments, syllabuses and announcements. It gives me a way to check all the things I have to do without being in class.

Web 2.0 is sophisticated and allows users to interact and share with each other. I was interested in the tool Diigo, which can be used to share resources found online and allows students to take notes on them. I had never heard of diigo before but it is actually an amazing topic that I would definitely use when teaching. I think that the general concept itself is so good for learning. Students can take notes directly on the resource so others can see it, add to it, and talk about these notes. It gets students very involved and they are able to interact with each other and bounce ideas off of each other rather than just a one sided conversation with class and teacher. Also, this is a helpful tool for when students have questions, their notes can be questions directly for the teacher and instead of a student waiting until the next class, a teacher can comment back immediately with an answer. I think diigo is a great way to start a class conversation and allow students to contribute their thoughts about resources with each other. Explore https://www.diigo.com, it allows you to sign up for free!

I think that certain web 2.0 tools are beneficial in k-12 educational. I think that blogs and twitter accounts should be used in later years because it exposes students to social media and information that can be inaccurate. Blogs and twitter accounts also allow teachers to review submissions before a student can post them to make sure the content is appropriate. Also, blogs and twitter accounts can be run by a teacher and require specific usernames and passwords to ensure that only certain people can get onto the website. I also think that diigo would be a good tool to use but I am not familiar with how posting notes goes, and whether or not that content can be filtered and approved before it is shown to all other students. I think that twitters and blogs are easy ways to send your students information and they allow them to interact with the teacher and other classmates through tweets and weekly blog posts, just as we do every week in our education class. I think with the right boundaries and monitoring web 2.0 tools can be very affected for k-12 grades and should be utilized.

After working on the Web Evaluation form I learned how much can go into figuring out if a website is real and criteria that make a website that is educational and will help you or others learn. I think using a website evaluation form is smart because many children and even their parents cant spot out things that make information inaccurate and having a check off list makes it easy. I liked the organization that went into the assignment and that although it was informational I could still make it a bit visual and easy to follow. I plan to use these when I am a teacher for my students so they can get familiar with things that make a good website and how to know what resources to avoid when doing work online.

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Web Hunt? I thought you said Egg Hunt!

Being a student now I feel that I will be very capable and willing to use technology as much as I can when I become a teacher. I have teachers now who can barely use a smart board and their lack of knowledge for technology really slows the learning process. Being a student now, I am able to adapt quicker to new technologies so when I am a teacher I can take advantage of them fully and really get the most out of it for myself and my students, so they can learn better as well. I would definitely incorporate my twitter and blog into my teaching; it will allow my students to be on a more personal level with me while still learning. It will be an easy way to interact with them and teach them. Kids have their heads glued to their phones nowadays so rather than trying to pry them away and put a book in front of their face we can adapt and teach them through instagram and twitter, the two social media cites they spend a majority of their time on. I’d flood their newsfeeds with information so it can be ignored. I would love to use podcasts to teach my kids and further my own skills as a teacher, I can learn what works and what doesn’t. Finally I think I would use technology to help me become more creative in the classroom, whether that be decorating, fun ways to teach an activity, or organizing materials. Technology, along with helping me reach out to my students and connect with them, will allow me to improve my own skills and become a very resourceful teacher.

Having website evaluations is a great way for teachers and parents to help young students identify good resources because you are providing the basic things to look for in a website. If the evaluation is set up like a check list it can almost be made into a searching game, parents/teachers can shows kids how to look through websites to be able to find certain aspects that show if its good or not. Also, teachers can have lessons that focus more on the difference between a reliable and unreliable source for their students rather than just telling them to avoid specific websites because they aren’t accurate, show them why! Parents can also help their kids find good Internet resources when they have book reports, essays, or take home tests. They can guide them and help them to find trustworthy resources. Parents can monitor their kids Internet use and make use it is as accurate as possible so their kid can learn. Knowing good Internet resources is a very important skill because if students were not taught what to use and what not to they would be using random information that could be made up. They would not learn properly and could not complete assignments correctly. Various tasks outside of school also required a child to be able to se if something is reliable or not, so this skill will help them outside of school along with school assignments.

After working on Web Hunt this week I think that I am better at Google! I learned a lot of shortcuts to search for things, such as whether or not your looking for a PDF file or want to exclude a specific website in your search. I think that a majority of the information I found for the assignment was correct but there were still times that I searched a question directly rather than trying a different approach. I have used Google Scholar in the past and found it helpful in this assignment. I think I can improve by really thinking about what it is I am searching for and the best and most direct route for me to find that information.

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