Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Journal Post #2

I want to be a teacher that uses a Student-Centered approach. While I do understand that most schools still use the Teacher-Centered approach, I believe that it's becoming obsolete if you will. Sitting in the classroom listening to a teacher lecture does work very well for some students. However if you are like me, you are a visual learner. Doing things helps me learn much more than lecture and taking notes. An example would be sitting in a class right now where as I sit and listen to the lecture it sounds interesting, but ask me anything about it even the next day, I don't know. With working hands on I tend to retain much more information. My son's go to a STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) school here in Lee County. I absolutely love their school. Even though they are in the ESE program, they are included in all areas of the school. They have three science classes and let me tell you, my oldest loves going to school the days he has science, but the day of the week he has Art, he doesn't want to go! He would rather go to science because they are literally building a robot that once done will actually work. He is in the first grade! Currently there is a waiting list to go to this school. Using technology at this school is the future.
      Using such technology will offer more opportunities for the students to learn and become creative in their learning. Last week I talked about the focus question first, but this week I really want to talk about the Tech Tool 2.1 because after reading it and going to the websites, I must save these to use in class once I start teaching. Not only is it interesting for me, I can only imagine how my students will react and want to collaborate with each other in using these sites.

      What is so amazing about this site is it actually provides 2D AND 3D images of the entire skeletons of human and primates. Of course this site will be used on the higher grade levels especially if we were to teach them about the human body or that of the primates. Great tool for teaching.
        Plants in Motion. This is currently one of my favorites. As a student back in the day we didn’t have the opportunity to just sit and watch a flower open or see how plants change. This website gives us great opportunities to see/view just that. My son enjoyed watching the videos of the flowers opening up. He kept asking me to play it again! This is a tool that I will be using in my own classroom! While I educate the kids on plants they are having fun! Perfect!

       This site gives us the opportunity to show simulations of a variety of things to our students. All items are related to physics so this is of course going to be a site that will be used at a higher grade level. It does however offer simulations for K-5. Not complex so that is a good thing.

       What can I say, as a child when I looked inside a dictionary, it was a book filled with words and their meanings. How I would have loved to have had a website like this when I was in school. I love that there are 15 different areas that you can look in and not only learn a word or meaning, but see images of this information. Amazing and again a great tool to have to teach my students!
    There are a few more websites on Tech Tool 2.1 but I am afraid that I will be going on and on if I add them in. Lets move on to the Focus Question. For this blog I chose Focus Question #2.

In what ways does technology promote unique, powerful, and transformative learning for students?

    This is a great question. Computers and well many other forms of technology (i.e.) iPads as well as other hand held devices offer opportunities that were not available before to teachers or students. These tools can give the students hands on training/learning on a variety of subjects and access to information that would not have been available otherwise. Depending on how creative the teacher can be we can literally change how learning is done! How exciting!
     As teachers we need to focus on creating unique, powerful, and transformative learning experiences using technology in our teaching. Information technologies make five unique, powerful and transformative experiences:
1)   Visual learning
2)   Accessing and assessing information
3)   Student engagement and collaboration- this is so important in any classroom
4)   Feedback
5)   Creativity
     For over 100 years, teaching has been modeled by the teacher lectures and the students listen and perhaps take notes. This worked for many. And when a student didn’t learn well at this, it was said that it was the student not paying attention. Ask yourselves, what if it was actually the need to have a more visual experience to learn? Having the technology we do today, being able to utilize it in our classrooms not only makes the classes more interesting it gives those students a much better chance of learning. We will have more collaboration and interaction between the students themselves and the students and teacher. Kids will be excited to come to school and learn! For example my son who can’t wait to go and work on his robot! I want to go and work on his robot! Well with all that said I think that is the conclusion of this blog! I hope you enjoyed it and well come back to read the next one!

 Textbook - Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011). Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc. ISBN:10 0-13-159611-X, ISBN:13 978-0-13-159611-5    

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Journal Post #1

Blog #1

My name is Cindy Michaels and this is the first of many blogs in reference to technology introduction into the classroom. The first focus question that I chose is
What six key issues should a teacher consider when looking to integrate technology?

1)   What is your readiness to integrate technology into teaching and learning in schools?
2)   What are your reasons for wanting to use technology in your teaching?
3)   What are your views of the barriers that block teachers from using technology in their classrooms?
4)   What are your plans for the types of technologies you will use in your classroom?
5)   What are your goals for the kinds of teaching methods you plan to use in your classroom?
6)   What is your knowledge of the technologies your students are using both inside and outside of school?
These are great questions to ask yourself and consider. So what are the answers to these questions? I think that each of us would give different answers based on our own knowledge, experience and of course the availability of the technology in the school district or school that you are in. So these are my answers to the questions (key issues).

1)   Technology is a great resource to have. I would be considered an “early adaptor” I am more than willing to try to use new technology but would like to see evidence that it’s proven to work prior to attaining and using it. As I become a teacher of special needs children it becomes clear that having knowledge and education with current that is available, is essential. Once trained in specific technology I want to begin using said technology in the classroom immediately.
2)   As a teacher of children with various needs and abilities, having technology that will assist a child in learning is important. Having technology that gives a voice to a child that wouldn’t otherwise have communication is a need in my opinion not a want or desire. Many students can be non-verbal. Using an electronic device to offer a means of communication for those students, not only will give them a voice, but also will cut down on negative or undesirable behaviors because the frustration from not being able to communicate will be removed. A lot of new technology provides teacher more tools and opportunities to engage with the students.
3)   There are many barriers that as a teacher we must face. The lack of funding or access for new technology is a major reason why much of the new technology isn’t used in the classroom. Budgets for technology have steadily decreased over the years. The lack of training in many new technologies can frustrate teachers. The fact that technology can change so much. This month’s computer system or program can be obsolete six months from now. Another issue is that there can be a variety of needs in the classroom. Each child may have different abilities and be at different levels than one another. A complaint or barrier that many teachers face is time. Time to do all the things that they are first required to do each day. Time to learn new systems, use those systems and programs in the classroom. Having the new technology fit in with the curriculum and the level of technology skills of the teacher can be a barrier. Some other barriers could be organizational support or the lack thereof, the personal attitude of the teacher the fact that some students may lack the ability to have access to technology outside of school.
4)   My plans for using technology in my classroom are varied.
a.     Using a computer for communications with fellow teachers, parents and the administration at the school and elsewhere in the school district.
b.     Using computers, smart boards and other technology to create presentations to use during class.
c.      Using the computers and smart boards for web based learning activities.
d.     Use web based technology for lesson plans for the entire class as well as individually for each student to meet their needs.
e.     Create student projects and assignments.
f.      Use computers to offer learning games for the students.
g.     Provide a handheld device such as an iPad for students to use. If a child is non-verbal they can also use these handheld devices to communicate with myself and others.
h.     Use a word processing tool for documents such as assignments and reports (IEP is an example of a report). Create quizzes, tests and other assessments for the students.
5)   My personal teaching philosophy is  more student-centered than teacher-centered. I believe that it’s more important for the student to get hands on experience than just listening to me tell them something than quiz them on it later to see if they remembered it. Helping the students “discover” things I think allows the students to absorb more and promotes the students be more engaged in the lesson. Thus when the time comes to test them on the information they have a higher chance of remembering the information.
6)   I will not claim to be a computer/technology wizard, but I can use the computer and create presentations. I use handheld devices personally and use them to work with my own kids. With that said there is much technology out there designed for the classroom that I am unaware of but excited to learn and use with my students. This is my first blog if that is any indication of how I use technology and what types of technology that I use.

Tech Tools 1.2

How Stuff Works: Computer Channel
            I think that this is a great website that I will use with my students. This site gives me a great tool to teach them exactly how something may work. And again with the hands on approach I believe that they will learn more.

Below is a neat video from the website on How Electricity Works. 

The first chapter is a plethora of information on technology and education. While some things that I read about I was aware of, many things that were presented in the chapter never came to mind. I learned about tips and information that will help me when my teaching career begins. I am excited about learning as much as I can, and ready for any challenges that may come! 

Textbook - Maloy, Robert, Verock-O’Loughlin,Ruth-Ellen, Edwards, Sharon A., and Woolf, Beverly Park (2011).Transforming Learning with New Technologies. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.