Friday, February 22, 2013

Journal Post #6

It's now week six! Can hardly believe it! So chapter six Teaching with Educational Websites and Other Online Resources is a very interesting chapter. I really had a hard time deciding on the focus question to choose. I really feel that all the questions in this chapter are essential to know and discuss. But I decided to choose Focus Question #4. I decided on this question because we will be creating a WebQuest of our own for an assignment and well, I thought it would be neat to discuss WebQuests and how they help us teach. 

Focus Question #4:

What are WebQuests and virtual field trips?

·      WebQuests and virtual field trips are innovative and engaging Web-based teaching methods that can be used at all grade levels.
·      WebQuests are virtual journeys where students visit a group of preselected websites in order to explore academic topics by accessing online digital text, pictures, audio, and video.
·      Virtual field trips allow teacher sand students to visit places around the world as part of their academic studies.

Webquests are designed so that students will explore multiple options for content learning as they complete a series of tasks. WebQuests include the following stages:

·      Stage Setting: Introduction by the teachers before the students begin the activity.
·      Task: Activities students will be expected to do or create while on the quest.
·      Process: The step-by-step instructions they will follow throughout the quest.
·      Evaluation: How the teacher (and possibly the students themselves)  will assess if the members of a class have successfully met the requirements of a quest.
·      Conclusion: Summary of the key understandings of learning goals that were embedded in the quest. 

In designing a successful WebQuest there are four considerations:

·      Who are your students and what are they capable of doing successfully?
·      What are the primary ideas you wish to teach?
·      How will students at different skill levels productively work together?
·      Is technology integrated seamlessly into the assignment?

Now lets discuss taking Virtual Field Trips-

Virtual field trips literally take the teacher and the student all over the world and back without EVER leaving the classroom. It’s relatively new technology and so much more will be learning and used through this technology. I love the idea of Virtual field trips. A great example of a Virtual field trip is Tech Tool 6.3.

 On a personal note, I love how my Speech professor uses virtual field trips. Every time she says we are going to take a field trip to the library, we know she means that it’s time to go to the online library to go over things. Honestly though the first time she said that today we are going to take a field trip to the library, I cringed. I honestly didn’t feel like walking all the way across campus to go to the library. Thankfully she explained that we were going to stay right in class. While it was a simple trip (virtually) normally when we discuss Virtual field trips it includes more than just looking up things that the library website. 

There are many places that offer virtual tours and online field trip programs. Here are a few:

·      Colonial Williamsburg
·      Baseball Hall of Fame
·      Smithsonian Institution
·      U.S. Arizona Memorial
·      Cleveland Museum of Art
·      Lake Michigan Science Research Center
·      Global Leap (International Field Trips)

I can only imagine my students reaction to me telling them they are going on a field trip to another country! Of course I think the U.S. Arizona Memorial would be interesting and the Smithsonian is a place I certainly will be taking my students to! 

Interactive videoconferencing is another bit of technology that is coming into use more and more in the field of education. It’s a powerful distance learning technology that offers real-time access to people and places that students would otherwise be unable to visit. A side note, while some students are considered homebound students due to illness or other needs this videoconferencing can help include them into the classroom and it’s daily activities and lessons. This technology is no longer just for the boardrooms! 

I personally feel that having such great technology and opportunities at our fingertips as teachers should not be wasted! There is amazing information that will be remembered by our students. We just need to use it! 

In staying in form with WebQuests I chose Tech Tool 6.3 to discuss with you today.
An Interactive Online Field Trip: The Cave of Chauvet-Pont-D’Arc

The above site is an interactive site that allows us to see cave paintings. Some of the earliest ever found. I went and checked it out, and must say this will be added to my delicious account to use when I start teaching. It’s a neat site and has great history behind it. Go and check it out!

I loved this chapter because it went over some great information and helped me learn how to access so much of this information and how to use it. Like I said before this information is out there! This technology is at our fingertips we need to use it in the classrooms. Again thank you for coming and reading my blog and I hope you enjoyed it! Have a great day and until next time!


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   

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Journal Post #5

Wow! Week 5 already! Chapter 5 offers great resources on internet technology and how to filter through the information on the internet. What is valid and what is not. I chose Tech Tool 5.1 which we will discuss later in the blog and I chose Focus question 4.

Focus Question 4

How can teachers and students thoughtfully evaluate online information resources, including the online Wikipedia?

First lets discuss the types of information problems that are found on the internet.
1)   Misinformation- notorious for incorrect information. Always remember that anyone can put anything on the internet. Make sure that you always get your information from a valid source. And be careful for “disinformation”. It’s a particular misinformation that is knowlingly false or malicious information.
2)   Malinformation- A reasonable person will consider this information bad.  It’s harmful information that can include sexual images or material, potentially dangerous or damaging information. Political views from militant fringe groups, ect. 
3)   Messed-Up Information- poorly organized and presented information. Web pages that have graphics that distract or clutter. No clear focus or topic. A reader can be overwhelmed by the data and unable to make sense of it.
4)   Mostly Useless Information- This is information that focuses on trivial, mundane and the eccentric. Please note however what may be trivial information to one can be very important to another.

Wikipedia! Who hasn’t heard of it? As one of my professors said to me, it’s where the eight year old down the street can change anything to what they want it to be. It’s hard to decipher what on Wikipedia is accurate and what is inaccurate. However there is a silver lining to it that even I before reading this chapter had not thought about.  Wikipedia provides teachers a relevant opportunity to teach students strategies for evaluating the quality of information found on the Internet. Leave it up to teachers to find a good side to it!

According to the American Library Association (ALA), high quality online information meets five criteria:
1)   accuracy
2)   authority
3)   objectivity
4)   currency
5)   coverage

Paying attention to URL extensions, discussing cognitive load, using lesson plan sites selectively, and giving clear Web research guidelines are important strategies for teachers to use in teaching Internet information evaluation to students.

Now I would like to discuss Tech Tool 5.1

Photo and Audio Resources on the Web-

Thankfully there are a variety of resources on the web to store photos and audio. Why is this so important? IF your computer crashes you potentially could loose all of your data including pictures and audio that you have stored there. Using online storage instead provides you a safe way of protecting that information. Another reason that these resources are important is that students enjoy visual images and audio recordings.  These types of materials help keep the students engaged in the lesson and help them concentrate on the ideas that you as a teacher are trying to share with them. The two sites that I want to discuss today are  Flickr and Libriovox. These two sites enable teachers to locate photos and audio resources on the web.

First lets talk about Flickr- is a great location to store photos. You can organize the photos and put them into groups which is definitely a plus especially when using in a classroom lesson plan. With that said there is a cost to unlimited storage on this site. It’s not much and I personally find it worth the cost of $24.95 a year to go “pro”. No ads and great ways to use the site. I plan on using this site during my teaching and with my lesson planning.


LibriVox is a new site to me, and I admit I find it interesting but also feel that there is much to learn about the site. This site allows us to access audio recordings of published books and other materials. The teachers and students can access the books in its entirety or by chapter-a-day on iTunes. I think this is a great resource to have as a teacher and being able to give that access to our students is very helpful for them I the learning process. And I really love that it’s accessible on iTunes. 


So in conclusion this chapter really gives information about how to use the web and what to look for to ensure that you are using valid information.  It’s a great resource to keep around.

That is it for this week! A little behind because of the joys of technology...When the internet goes down we all seem a little lost! But thankfully we are up and running again! Enjoy and see you next time!



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   

Monday, February 4, 2013

Journal Post #4

Journal #4

As I read Chapter 4 I had a hard time deciding what focus question I would discuss in this blog, while the Tech Tool was easy. There was only one! As I type I really am not sure which one to choose! To me personally they were all great questions and the information that followed to answer those questions is all valuable and needed to know for inclusion of technology in the classroom.

I think I will go with Question 4

What instructional strategies and approaches promote technology integration while addressing the participation gag?

1)   One on one laptop computing initiatives provide every student with technology they can use for learning. Some schools (more not don’t) have laptop computers in the classroom for each individual student. This allows them to participate in the lesson in class and be able to do the assignments in class. While this would be an optimal choice for all classrooms I am sure, however many schools do not have the resources for this option.
2)   One/two/three time formats to use computers as a learning center or station where the students can do academic activites while the teacher works with other groups of students. I personally know of centers in the classroom for my oldest son. The students use the computers during centers while other students for example may be doing reading, spelling or other assignment with the teacher at another table.
3)   Computers support cooperative learning and small-group activites by giving individual students and small groups the opportunity to work independently on academic assignments during class time or outside of school. Again this is giving more access to the students and teachers to work more together outside of the classroom. The teacher can create a website that allows them to post assignments do chats with the students outside the school to help them with their assignments. Assignments can also be posted on these websites.
4)   Electronic textbooks provide students with learning materials they can access for any online computer. I love for the most part ebooks as many call them. I use them personally on my computer and on my iPad. However I feel that while these ebooks do give a greater opportunity of access they can hinder in many ways. But if we have ebooks, a student saying he/she left their book at home won’t matter, just pull it up online. Also this will cut down on the load that students phsycially carry to and from class. One thing I do love about ebooks is you can type in a word and it will search for that word through out the book and take you to that page. And you can digitally highlight and make notes on many of them. Good use of technology for the most part!
5)   Dialogue among students, and between teachers and students, is a method for involving students in educational change efforts in the school.  Technology of today gives students many avenues of communicating with one another as well as the teacher and their students. Email is a great source of communication. As I also said before using a website for the teacher will also provide a source of communication between students and student and teacher. More so than what was available when I went to school. You saw the teacher in class and that was it! So this is much better! Of course it does take up more time on the teacher’s part, however if we are passionate about our teaching and students we won’t mind!

Now let’s talk about the tech tool. Of course I chose the first Tech Tool as it was the only option in the chapter.

Edtopia- a website from George Lucas Educational Foundation (anyone know that guy?). This website offers a variety of resources in reference to technology integration. I love this site. Select by grade level and so many other options. Watch this video I selected about integration of technology in the K-2 section (this is also the grade level I wish to teach that is why I am selecting it).

Once you go to youtube and find edtopia you can subscribe to them and see so many different videos that are connected to their site! Check it out when you can! Overall this is a site that every teacher today should know about, use and share with others. A great tool in our tool belt if you will. And of course its FREE!
Now lets talk about National Educational Technology Standards for Teachers (NETS-T)- includes two different types of resources.
Great place to get information and resources! Access rubrics as well as a variety of resources and information. The newsletter is FREE after you register. However there is a membership fee for this website. There are five different levels of memberships to this site. Premium $225, Standard $105, Online Student $45, and Retired Educator $65. Annual renewals required for the site. I recommend the Premium for anyone who is really interested in getting access to this site because of all the information and resources that will be available to you. If you want to access certain areas additionally to let's say a student membership it can cost actually more than the premium would anyway. Great source for a teacher to have. Worth the cost.  Using the Inbox and Inbox Blog from NTCE are also great resources, so again worth the membership!

In summary Chapter 4 provided a variety of tools that as teachers we can use as well as a vast array of information that is useful for each one of us as we integrate technology into our classrooms. As many school districts continue to lack the financial capabilities of integrating technology completely into all classrooms, we as teachers can have access to technology and be able to use that in the classroom. Edtopia offers a great variety of resources for us to use in the classrooms. The ability to use technology in the classroom is more and more effective to help students learn, and offering a teachers website is also a great idea, offering more access to their teacher and information and notes that may otherwise not be available. Technology is the future and as school districts add more and more technology into the classrooms, teachers need to learn about the technology and how to use it.

 I encourage you to go to the above websites, and as a final thought...IF you don't know who George Lucas is, Google him. He by far is one of the most creative minds I've ever known....just think STAR WARS!!!!!!

Have a great week everyone!!!!!


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