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.