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.