Monday, July 24, 2017

Blog Entry #9: Class Refelection

This summer I've learned a great deal of new programs and systems that will help in my future classroom. Being exposed to the vast amount of information available for free to teachers was wonderful and very enlightening. I'm most excited to use programs like Remind to keep in touch with students and their parents outside of the classroom. Quizizz is another one I find very fun to use. It's been great to learn how to properly incorporate blogs, videos, presentations, and all kinds of interactive tools, some of which I didn't even know existed. This course has definitely made me want to use more technology in the classroom, not only for my own ease of teaching, but in order to keep the students engaged and excited to learn. It's been a very eye opening experience and I'm looking forward to learning how to use many of the tools I've been shown more in depth on my own. Thank you to Mrs. Fetner for making this a smooth, fun, and very informative summer course!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Blog Entry #8: Assessment Tools

Kahoot would be my assessment tool of choice. I found the format and scoring to be very engaging plus the addition of memes was hilarious, and I think children today and in the near future will get kicks out of those as well. These types of tools are invaluable to a teacher because they provide a way to judge both individual student and class wide comprehension of material quickly. They are very engaging and competitive formats for the children as well and are more likely to hold their attention and get them excited rather than a boring pen and paper quiz. The results are there in front of you instantly, instead of spending time grading papers. Prizes like candy or perhaps bonus points on tests are also great incentives for children to get involved and want to learn the material.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Blog Entry #6: Padlet Collaborative Tool

I would use Padlet in my classroom to supplement classroom discussions and give them some extra information on certain topics that could perhaps not be covered in the lesson plan. Students could post short answers to questions about the lessons or what they thought of them for some stress free homework. I would also use it to encourage students to talk to each other by having to reply to at least one of their classmates. Collaborative tools like Padlet are a simple and fun way to integrate technology in the classroom and they give children a chance to see exactly what their fellow classmates think, which could open up ideas they wouldn't have thought of themselves and could even stimulate discussions between students who may not otherwise socialize together.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Blog Entry #7: Remind

Remind is a communication app that allows for mass texting reminders, updates, or study tips to both students and their parents. It can send images, PDFs, voice or sound clips along with simple messages. It allows for instant communication with students/parents and can show who's received them and read them. I would use this free app to keep in touch directly with students and parents about what's being taught and on what days. I could remind them when tests or projects are due, if there will be any changes for the day/week's lesson plan, and could use it for one-on-one personal communication between students if they are struggling or tell them they're doing a great job, or talk to parents about study or class issues.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Blog Entry #5: Video Project

The medium I used for my video project was the Powtoons site. It's a free in-browser program with so much you can access built into it right from the start. It allowed me to use pre-made templates and animations of text and pictures to give the video some flare so that it isn't just a PowerPoint presentation. I liked how simple is was to add music, edit the timing, and add effects and my own pictures. I did have a few issues with the application not saving correctly and some error messages when trying to playback the video that ultimately cost me some time while making it. These were the only frustrating parts. I was able to figure it out though, and after a few tries I knew what not to do to make the process go along smoothly. Some of the text effects I wanted to implement simply took to long to appear on screen as well. I would imagine (and hope)if you actually purchased the upgraded version these issues would cease to be. While I caught on pretty quickly, I believe my video is very simple and this is something I would like to improve, something that can only be done with more exposure and continuing to learn to use it. Next time I want to try a voice over, or adding some recording of my own to the video. Ultimately I think Powtoons was a great starter to video editing that streamlined the procedure with its access to so many simple to manipulate animations and effects, and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to make an engaging and fun video for classroom instruction.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Blog Entry #4: Video in the Classroom

Videos are a fantastic asset to the classroom and have been one of my favorite breaks from simple lectures as a student. They can turn math lessons into Saturday morning cartoons, instead of a boring history lecture you're wandering through ancient ruins, and science class can suddenly perform any experiment in a safe environment. While the teacher is the most critical component of the classroom, lectures can get stale week after week and can cause children to lose focus and drive. Videos as a regular part of class will help capture children's imaginations and get them more engaged. Apart from showing instructional videos, allowing the children to make their own video projects would undoubtedly get them excited. Joe Gaston's talk today opened up a few doors I hadn't really thought of such as live recording with other classrooms around the world, and I would definitely use the EDpuzzle application to incorporate quizes and class discussions while watching.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Blog Entry #3: Text-To-Speech Programs

One great assistive learning tool for students who lack reading and writing skills or who are visual impaired in some way is text-to-speech programs. These programs, broadly speaking, are those that listen to a user's voice and transcribe it into written text. However, the technology has become expanded to much more than that over the years. Many programs, such as Intel Reader or Kurzweil 3000, have the ability to also read text out loud to students, change gender, pitch, and speed, support multiple languages, magnify text, and even spell and grammar check transcribed text, and the accuracy of these programs is getting better every year. Text-to-speech applications are a great way to give impaired children a leg up in the classroom and the integration of interactive technology can also be very fun for them, building their confidence in their reading and writing skills simultaneously. Students could easily say notes out loud and have them read back to them, or be able to learn proper pronunciation and grammar, they could have their textbooks read straight to them. Even children without disabilities could benefit from text-to-speech programs for their convenience and ease of use.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Blog Entry #2: Group Technology Tools

One way to make a class more interactive and fun for students is group presentations using technology tools. Not only do they break the monotony of class lectures but they also give students hands on experience with said programs (PowerPoint, Prezi, etc.). Giving students the responsibility to put projects together also teaches management and organizational skills needed throughout their entire lives and gives them a chance to work and meet fellow students they may not otherwise interact with. These are also tools that will be used across a wide range of careers and situations. As society grows more and more dependent on technology students will need to be exposed to it more and at earlier ages. Working with group technology tools used across laptops, desktops, and mobile devices will give them a wide range of experience across multiple platforms, ensuring they will be familiar and competent in their use.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Blog Entry #1: Jean Piaget

Jean Piaget's theory of Cognitive Development divides childhood into four distinct stages that span certain ages where specific milestones in learning capability occur. First the sensoritmotor stage, which goes from birth to about 2 years old and is where object permanence is developed. Second is the preoperational stage, which spans from ages 2 to 7, where children learn to think symbolically, learning that words or objects can stand for different things. Third is the concrete operational stage from ages 7 to 11, considered by Piaget to be the critical point in cognitive development because this is when children begin to think logically and don't necessarily have to physically act things out before they can solve things in their minds. Finally comes the formal operational stage, which will last the rest of the child's life, where abstract thinking and problem solving fully develops. Piaget's Cognitive Development Theory can be applied to technology integration in a classroom by directing specialized activities and lessons toward each specific period of development. Technology can provide lessons in the form of interactive games to help build the core skills that should be acquired from each stage. For example, using age appropriate computer games designed to combine simple hands on procedures and critical thinking skills that progressively get slightly more abstract as they go would help students move through whichever stage they were currently in and prepare them for the next one.