Tuesday, April 23, 2013


Photo Credit to Todd Fong on Flickr
Introduction To Technology For Educators was an extremely informative and valuable college course for a potential high school teacher. Understanding and appreciating the critical role of technology in the classroom will guide my methods of teaching for the duration of my career and help me connect with my students to a higher degree.There were multiple areas to gather Transforming Learning With New Technologies by Maloy, Verock‐O'Loughlin, Edwards, and Woolf. The "Learning Outcomes" section of the syllabus were accomplished fully and learning APA style citation was made possible. All of this and more was made possible through taking Introduction To Technology For Educators. 

Photo Credit To rightsreaders on Flickr
The "Discussions" section of the class portal was a great area to discuss information that was leaned and to share ideas with other students. I was able to learn about the other students' plans for teaching, where they were born, where they may have worked or are currently working, and what drew them to teaching in the first "Introduction" discussion. In posts that followed I learned about the the most informative teaching websites and the most effective technology to use in diverse classrooms where students with disabilities my attend. I was also able to learn about what technology may help with students who have English as a second language and what ethical or legal issues students may encounter without using proper citations, privacy issues, or cyberbullying. 

Photo Credit To Christy Nelson on Flickr
Class projects were also a major source for gaining information from how to accurately evaluate a website, to creating a lesson plan while including multimedia resources, and creating a Wiki and Webquest. Learning how evaluating a website was hugely important because it instructed the class what to look for in a valid website. Knowing to check for an author and reputable sponsor, information that is reliable and fact-checked, unbiased and updated facts, and a wide range of topics with unique insights is vastly helpful and important to know. Understanding how to create a lesson plan with multiple multimedia resources was crucial to learn to ensure students have crystal clear instructions and expectations. Finally, collaboratively designing a Wiki will help considerably in creating a personel class Wiki in the future and learning to create a Webquest was extremely valuable when constructing creative innovative and stylish lesson plans for the students for the future. 

Transforming Technology With New Technologies was surprisingly a very good read with great quotes and useful information; albeit with information overload. There was great insight on the different teaching methods and the benefits of multimedia resources to enhance lesson plans. Useful information on how to exactly gauge a student's progress without having to rely solely on tests. Great suggestions on how to use technology to assist a lesson plan and not let technology control it. Finally, the book offered beneficial informative on hoe exactly teaching may be evaluated and how to institute a "Democratic Classroom".

Through the projects and discussions I was able to complete the lesson goals that were stated in the syllabus. The information in the discussion posts made it possible for me to understand the link between technology and strategies for effectively teaching students with English as a second language. I am also now capable of creating a portfolio online with samples reflecting ways technology can support classroom management. Lastly, I can now evaluate and critique various software and hardware tools determine effectiveness in the classroom setting. All while using APA citing for the information that was used. 

Photo Credit To Emiliano on Flickr
Introduction To Technology For Educators was a very informative class to take and the information I gathered will be useful for many years to come. There were however some areas of improvement that may enhance the class. Less range of information could be viewed as an improvement. There seemed to be too much data about too many topics. More information on fewer topics could make the book less overwhelming. Also, the amount of assignments, journal and discussion posts, and projects was a tad on the extreme side. It would have been preferably to work on a single project or assignment for a longer period of time to really get a good understanding on how to use it fully. It seemed that it was one thing after to another with little time to breathe. All in all the class was very good but the workload could have been less life consuming.

Thank you for everything.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.


Friday, April 12, 2013

Chapter 11: Engaging Teachers and Students in Learning and Self-Reflection

Focus Question: How can teachers use student participation systems as effective assessment methods?
Photo Credit to Luluk on Flickr
Student can use participation systems, such as remote control devices known as clickers, to allow members of a class to respond collectively to questions posed by teachers. Participation systems are ways to actively engage students with academic material and to conduct quick assessments of what students know or still need to learn about a topic. Designing interesting open-ended questions is key to using student participation systems successfully with your students.

Tech Tool: Survey Monkey
Survey Monkey is a very innovative tool to gather results of a poll that the user created. It can be used to gather information, opinions, feedback, or results on certain personalized questions. It can also be used as a great tool to get students involved in lesson plans and determine what students may already know prior to a lesson plan. Survey Monkey is easy to use and apply to various websites, blogs, or Facebook. Although I am using the free version and assume there are limitations that I have yet to run into, I would be more than happy to pay for the upgrade once I have a larger need for the online tool.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Summary and Connection:
Chapter 10 of the text book had great information on how teachers will be evaluated and how closely that evaluation is to how students are evaluated. The most important and interesting section of the chapter however was on "Democratic Schools and Classrooms". The text offered information on how to adapt to a more democratic system in the classroom and that I plan to use in my classroom to some extent.
  • Shared decision-making among the students and the staff
  • A learner-centered approach in which students choose their daily activities.
  • Equality among staff and students
  • Using the community as an extension of the classroom
I will definitely attempt to institute these methods while maintaining my own identity and strong opinions for what I feel is important for the education of my students. Another topic in the chapter that I felt was interesting was how to use technology to assist students to participate more in the classroom. The use of a clicker, more specifically the CSPulse, will help students become active and enthusiastic when questions are asked and a "game" format is used to get the competitive juices flowing and results are shown immediately. Finally, the information on preassessments was also useful because it reiterated what I believe to be important; to build on knowledge that students already possess about the lesson that is being taught. To get to the core of what the students already know the text book recommends to use surveys, which can be taken from online tools, pre-tests, and basic questions and discussions.
Photo Credit To Howard Hall on Flickr

Friday, April 5, 2013

Promoting Success For All Students Through Technology

Photo Credit to Stephanie Richard
Focus Question: How can teachers use technology to create universally designed classrooms?
Creating a universally designed classroom using technology involves designing learning environment and/or changing the way curriculum is delivered. A teacher's technology choices for universal design can be organized in three tool kits: Low Tech, Middle Tech, and High Tech.

Tech Tool: Extra Large and Online Calculators
There are many, many online calculators to choose from on the internet. Whether solving or graphing equations, addition or subtraction of simple numbers, or ascertaining a quarterback rating using the NFL standards there is a calculator to help. Fooling around with these different online calculators is actually pretty fun and could be useful when the Windows or Mac calculator is not enough and splashing out $100 for a graphing calculator is out of the budget.
Photo Credit to Youssef Abdelaal

Summary and Connection:
Chapter 10 was another really informative chapter that will come in very handy when I have my own classroom and want to implement my own technological resources. Differential Instruction, the idea that there are multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas, was interesting to read about and than contemplate how I can help my students who take in and assess information differently still understand the same subject matter. The chapter referenced a great quote by Thomas Hehir, "Minimizing the impact of disability and maximizing the opportunity to participate in the world" which I plan to instill in my students daily. There were great charts, such as the "Classroom Organization Tools" that offered great examples of how to utilize Low Tech, Middle Tech, and High Tech in the classroom and "Writing Process Fit For Young Writers" chart offered useful examples of a particular writing process stage and how the teacher's role using technology or no technology will associate with the process.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Chapter 9: Creating and Sharing Information with Multimedia Technologies

Photo Credit to qthomasbower on Flickr
Focus Question: What is multimedia technology and how can teachers use it to effectively create and share visual information dynamically in their teaching?
Multimedia learning happens when multiple media (text, data, voice, picture, and video) are used to communicate information. Schools have largely emphasized single media, non-interactive modes of learning. A multmedia classroom interprets multiple technologies for teaching and learning.

Tech Tool: NTTI
The National Teacher Training Institute provided teachers with the proper training to efffectivley use modern technology in the classroom. The Institute also offer extremely well developed lesson plans for all the core subjects (very handy for new teachers). The website also offers great tips on how to utilize the internet and videos in the classroom and very informative online workshops. I looked into file management and found some great ideas about how best to transfer information from school to home and how to effectively store student files. The website also offers really good examples of how best to utilize technology with student created videos. The NTTI was a wealth of information and a website I will definitely visit often if just for lesson plans.

Summary and Connection:
Photo Credit to Graeme Mackay on Flickr
Chapter 9 offered great information on how best top use technology in the classroom and what applications work best. The assumption made that multimedia in education will enhance a students learning if more than one mode of learning is used in teaching is, in my opinion, a safe assumption. The chapter recognized that schools, more often than not, tend to emphasize single media, non-interactive learning, and how today's teachers much break this habit. The chapter suggested that if a video is used that another form of media would be greatly beneficial such as a Prezi presentstion. The chapter also suggested to use more interactive and visual presentations even when beginning a class discussion, very interesting. Another great idea I found helpful as a potential history teacher was to use video for mock historical trials, re-enactments, and debates. 

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Chapter 8: Communicating and Networking with Websites, Blogs, Wikis, and More
Focus Question: How can teachers use wikis to promote collaborative learning?
Photo Credit to Danielle Bauer on Flickr
Wikis are web pages that are created and maintained by multiple users. In schools, wikis enable collaborative learning environments where teachers and students work together to investigate topics and share information. A wikitext is a book or booklet that teachers and students create together as part of a class study of a topic.

Tech Tool: Moodle
Moodle is a free web application that educators can use to create online learning sites that help promote students to pursue knowledge outside the classroom. Moodle can be used to create fully online courses or to simply blend the classroom with the student's home through teacher designed websites, blogs, wikis, forums, or online tests or quizzes. To install the program there are 4 easy steps:

1) Move the Moodle files into your web directory.
2) Create a single database for Moodle to store all
   its tables in (or choose an existing database).

3) Visit your Moodle site with a browser, you should
   be taken to the install.php script, which will lead
   you through creating a config.php file and then
   setting up Moodle, creating an admin account etc.

4) Set up a cron task to call the file admin/cron.php
   every five minutes or so.


By easy I obviously mean ridiculously complex for the novice like myself. I thought there was a lot of potential with this application and I really agree with the philosophy of constructivism and constructionism being at the forefront of education but unfortunately I had neither the time nor patience to figure out just how to download it....I can't imagine how lost I would get in trying to actually use the product.

Summary and Connection: 
Photo Credit to djtyrant on Flickr
Online communication is a practice I am going to adhere to the fullest of my abilities and to the extent at which my students are participating in. Teacher and classroom websites, blogs, discussion boards, email, and instant messages are all great tools to get the digital student involved in academics outside the classroom, which I feel is very important. Whether it be synchronous or asynchronous communications I feel an electronic correspondence between the instructor and student can be vital in a student's academic growth. Creating a place for students to learn classroom material outside the classroom and creating an online dialog with the students displays the teachers hard work and communion with the student and a student's willingness and enthusiasm for knowledge. The eighth chapter of Transforming Learning with New Technologies was a very informative portion of the book on a subject I find will be crucial to my teaching career. I especially like the idea of publishing students work online on the classroom website. A great way to encourage to students to do their best and see their hard work pay off.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chapter 7: Problem Solving and Inquiry Learning with Software and Web Tools

Focus Question: What are intelligent tutoring systems and how can students and teachers use them successfully?
Photo Credit to Christopher Ebdon on Flickr
As instructional tools, intelligent tutors present topics in a discipline, track a student's performance in achieving correct answers, and then adjust their teaching approach based on the student's learning needs. The use of story, characters, and feedback are the primary ways that intelligent tutors promote inquiry learning and problem solving

Tech Tool: Scratch
Scratch is a programming tool that enables it members, from children to adults, to create games, animations, and other creative projects through a user-friendly interface and a very helpful online community. The website also offers tutorials, examples of completed projects, and a support forum to answer any other questoions a novice like myself might have. The idea behind Scratch is the belief that young children can enhance their computer literacy and general knowledge by creating personalized computer programs, games, and animations. Scratch is very cool program that can provide children and adults with hours of creative fun and learning but does require a fair amount of time and practice to grasp the basics of the program. 

Summary and Connection:
Photo Credit to Help-4 on Flickr
Chapter 7 of Transforming Learning with New Technologies was a very informative chapter about the benefits of educational software, programs, and games. The chapter gave great suggestions on which software programs offer free and comparable alternatives and what to look for when choosing educational games for children. Low quality programs will control the child as opposed to the child controlling the program, promote competition, stereotyping, or violence, and the program will favor quick reactions over long term thinking. The chapter also suggested to avoid games that teach isolated skills; games that only ask specific questions to one topic instead of a wide array of problems that encompass multiple subjects. Chapter 7 also provided great questions to ask oneself and an informative rubric to use when determining the quality of educational games. It also explained the importance of "digital writing" for educators who must know how to effectively communicate using websites, email, instant messaging, and blogs. One thing that I am taking away from this book is the surprising high quality of writing. There is at least one quote per chapter that I feel will help me immensely as I become an educator myself. "Does the child program the computer or will the computer program the child?" is one such quote.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Chapter 6: Teaching with Educational Websites and Online Resources

Focus Question: What is information management and digital content?
Photo credit to Mayda Sanchez-Shingler on Flickr
Information management is the process of organizing, storing, and administering academic materials and curriculum resources. This includes bookmarking websites, file management and organization, and creating personal school websites. Digital content is academic information that is delivered using Internet technologies. This includes every type of media that is accessed using the Internet.

Tech Tool: Diigo 
Photo Credit to Carla Arena on Flickr
Diigo is an effective tool for saving and storing anything that is found on the Internet. As someone who prefers saving to files and file organization Diigo is a nice tool to utilize for quickly bookmarking and highlighting websites. The tutorial is short to learn the basics of Diigo but there are add-ons as well that can be used for the more advanced Diigo-er. Drawbacks to Diigo and other website file organizers are having to access the website for saved files and folders and the fact that anyone can access those saved files and folders if they are using your computer or laptop. I prefer to have a minimal amount of websites open at any given time and anything that I save to have an element of privacy. Diigo seems as though it could offer quite a bit, downloading add-ons and possibly upgrading to premium might help, but website organization is not how I prefer to save information, images, and movies found on the Internet. I like my pictures of cats in the cat file and my movies of....movies in the movies file.

Summary and Connection: 
Chapter 6 of Transforming Learning with New Technologies was a breath of fresh air after reading the drivel that was chapter 5. The chapter offered a great deal of useful information (e.g. how important Internet organization is and will be for a future educator), a wide variety of websites to discover (e.g. proquest.com, readwritethink.com, and student-to-expert communication websites) and explained just how useful social-bookmarking and teacher websites can be for the parents and students. Chapter 6 also had a great line that really explains the joy of teaching, "gaining new knowledge and communicating it to others". "Teaching with Educational Websites and Other Online Resources" was a very informative chapter and something that I was hoping most chapters would be similar to; educational information and how it can be utilized using technology. 

 Food For Blog:
  •  In 2002 five exabytes of information, which is equivalent to 37,000 libraries the size of the Library of Congress, was added to the Internet 
  •  Annually each individual in North America consumes 11,916 sheets of paper.
Seems to me that paper could be superfluous at this point but for some reason is still in use. At what point will we realized paper is better utilized in trees and information is better accessible in digital format. Can someone please inform the text book industry?

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.