Monday, June 4, 2012

Tool #11- Reflection

My favorite tool was a combination of the iPad apps and continuing with Blogger. I think the students will be excited to be able to use some of the apps but feel like they are able to access Blogger from any platform and as such will lead to better conversations inside and outside the classroom.

I appreciate the learning I have gained from going through the "11 Tools" process.  As a recipient of the Power to Learn grant, I embraced student use of technology but often found it limiting regarding connection issues and hardware issues.  Because of this, technology use tended to be an "event" in my classroom as opposed to a route for gaining an understanding of the content.  I am hoping with these new tools, the technology will become a more integrated part of the classroom rather than just a small portion.

Some unexpected outcomes has been seeing others ideas and how I can implement them in my classroom. I have also come to terms with the idea of students using smartphones to supplement the classroom technology. If they are using it to learn they are less likely to use it for other purposes. 

Tool #10- Digital Citizenship

Three things that I think students should be proficient in regarding digital learning are copyright laws, safety in online collaboration and the appropriate use of educational technology.  When I grade essays or projects, I notice large amounts of plagiarism.  Students would literally copy and paste entire assignments.  I tried talking to them about the importance of citing sources and paraphrasing works of others.  I also shared with them bibme to help students in citing their resources. (I also set up limits on what could be quoted)   I think that online safety is especially important as "social networking" becomes more pervasive in our students' lives.  Students need to know how to act appropriately online as well as advocate for themselves if they become victimized.
If I were teaching my students about digital citizenship, I would use Atomic Learning's courses on "netiquette," "online harassment" and "avoiding plagiarism."  I would also plan mini-lessons for each of these videos early on in the year to allow students time to process and practice with these important topics.
As far as sharing this information with parents, I would send home a letter at the beginning of the year explaining what we are doing in class and then post updates on our class blog.

Tool #9- Incorporating Classroom Based Devices as Tools for learning

I think it is vitally important for teachers to plan for technology when planning for the content because ideally the technology should serve as a vehicle for learning, not as an "event."  In order to ensure against "Remember the time we used _______?" content must be the focus with technology being seamlessly woven into the learning goals.
Accountability goes a long way in not only character-building for our students but also in the preservation of the tech devices.  Students have to be aware of the fact that these devices are not meant for "fun" only but rather as another tool in their learning process. Often when I create centers I have a split between 3 different tech tools and 3 "traditional" tools where each have a set of open ended questions that students must answer. This way students learn in different ways and gives them options as far as expanding their skill base.
Of the sites listed, I will like to use Museum Box since it seems to be an interactive way for students to take a small piece of history and expand their knowledge. Another great site is History Buff which will allow students to research primary sources and for them to "see" it as it happened.  As far as Apps- I really like the Smithsonian Channel for iPad where I can create my own "channel" for student use. (There is also one for PBS). There are also lots of review apps for the AP exams and practice tests that I am excited to use in the spring. I am also excited about being able to use iTunes U to help with differentiation.  Students could have these split up to create stations.

Tool #8 Taking a look a tools

After viewing the videos about the incoming technology, I learned that the netbooks will have audio/visual "recording" capabilities such as a microphone and webcam (useful for Skyping!).  I also learned that the students will have to log in with their own credentials (unless the teacher pre-logs in for them).  This will require planning for the times that the students forget their log-in information. However, it is helpful that students passwords are their ID#'s which makes it hard to forget. I also ask my students to use their same email account information on other sites that they have to sign up for, that way the forgotten information is easily accessible.

If I were to be in charge of classroom technology, I would devise a system based on my students' needs.  I would like to first build capacity in my students to be responsible stewards of the technology.  I know that technology cases are being provided to our teachers, so I would devise a method of having technology taken and replaced from the technology cabinet (if the activity calls for a loose-structure for the technology--like research). I would also assign one person from each grouping of tables to be in charge of the technology for that table. So, if they are using Today's Meet, the name would be Table 1, etc so I would know who the questions are coming from.

Tool #7- Online Digital Projects

Content Objective:
Given internet tools, primary sources, and collaboration, students will be able to create a presentation over life in the 1920's analyzing music, art, literature, and cultural norms by working with a partner in an English class to evaluate 1920's literature and how they explain the changes in the US during that time.

late October/early November

Tools used:
Today's Meet, Google Docs, Glogster, Weebly, Blogger, Diigo.

Students will be assigned on a one to one partnership with a student in a same grade level English class. They will use Diigo sources provided by the teachers to create a presentation explaining how the piece of literature they were given demonstrates the historical time period.

English III class

Tool #6- Using Web Tools to promote Discussion.

Linked is the transcript of a Today's Meet conversation between myself and 2 peers. In it, we discussed how we can use this in the classroom. This can also be used for study sessions and review.

The other one that I would like to get more use out of is Poll Everywhere. I need to use this more often in not only my AP Government class but also with my US History class to get opinions, test knowledge, and show the students that there are multiple uses of the technology they have. My poll looks at which tool teachers will think is the most beneficial.

Tool #5- Producing with Web 2.0 Tools

Animoto is a great tool that makes presentations very simple. It takes any photos and any song you choose and creates a professional looking presentation. This one was created for the Senior Class but students can use these to create projects for pretty much any topic.


I absolutely love blogging with my students. It is an easy way to have students have a conversation about a topic and evaluate readings/articles/movie clips. They have to not only respond to the question but also argue with one of their classmates. I hope to be able to expand this to all of my classes next year.