Instructional Video

Not only can technology aid teachers in teaching their content in class, but technology can be used alone to give a complete lesson. This is a great thing for many reasons. Students who may be absent in class, can get the complete lesson, complete with teacher explanations. Instructional videos, or pod-casts, also allow students to review teh content as many times as they need to. This type of video can also lend itself to a flipped lesson plan, in which the lesson is given as a homework assignment to watch the podcast, and then the concept is practiced and questions can be answered in class.

Here is a link to a podcast I created about ordered pairs: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ckle4e5tcu0ob5s/Instructional%20Video.mp4?dl=0

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Integrating Technology into Your Teaching

Most of us use multiple technologies in our everyday life. We use things like computers, smartphones, digital video cameras, automated back machines, Internet based television like Netflix, and countless other tools. Technology has changed our everyday activities. Not so long ago, we do not check our email, everyday or even multiple times a day, we didn’t have it so it was not an everyday activity. Today, instead of having to go by stamps to mail a letter, we sent a text message or email. We don’t look up a phone number in a huge book, but simply look it up online on our smartphones.
As a result of my technology use, I have adopted new patterns and approaches. If I do not know what a word means, I am more likely to look it up now because I can do so quickly, and it doesn’t require as much effort as looking for the word in a dictionary. I have a pattern of staying more on top of the news because I look at it every morning on my smart phone. I would define many of the technologies I use as mind tools, which is a term for people using technology as a learning partner. Although I use technologies like my phone for social activities, it can also be a learning partner, as I have access to a large amount of information that I can learn just about anything from. I think things like social media and internet television are less of a learning tool, but you can learn more about people and ideas and find interesting learning tools such as documentaries on internet television.
I see technology as an important thing in the classroom. Because of this, I plan to use as many technologies as I can in the classroom. These could include laptops, iPad, interactive educational websites, blogs, wikis, handheld and wireless devices, and other tools. Having these technologies can definitely change education from what the teacher would do if the technology were not present. If technology were not present, I think a teacher would have to still spend a long time writing notes on the board, taking away a lot of actual teaching time. I think teachers would have a harder time finding creative ways to teach, explain, and reinforce concepts. It would definitely be a whole other world in education if we did not have technology. I think that all the technologies listed above (laptops, iPad, interactive websites, blogs, wikis, handheld and wireless devices, etc.) can all be defined as mindtools in one way or another. However, I think it depends on the actual software that is being used on these devices determine if they are being used as a mindtool or not. For example, iPads can be a mindtool in conjunction with subject area games or interactive activities, however I would not say an iPad running Angry Birds is a mindtool.
For more information on what mindtools are and how they are used, read the blog linked below and go to the link within it to see a real example of a mind tool.
https://jessiemetzger.wordpress.com/2012/05/02/what-are-mindtools/

QR Codes

The website http://www.qrstuff.com allows users to create QR codes that can be scanned by smartphones and other devices. When scanned, these codes allow the user to access a variety of information. Using the above website, you can create these codes with links to websites, a map location, a Facebook page, digital business cards, and even allows you to create QR codes with image backgrounds. Below are several examples of QR codes that you can use apps such as “Scan” to view.

This first code should take you to a Facebook page of a fund raising group, Team Martina, that will give you more information about it.

image

This code links to a website, which happens to be this blog. This code is unique as it contains an image.

e.  wordpress

The next code takes you directly to a video, which is the introduction video that was created earlier in this course.

qrcode.28729782 (2)

The below code goes to a Dropbox file that contains the iMovie trailer created in this course.

qrcode.28729894

This last code goes to an Instagram profile for Anderson University Athletics. Visual_QR_DO_NOT_RESIZE_BELOW_25mm

Assessments of New Teachers

Almost everywhere across the nation, prospective teachers have to pass at least one standardized test to get a teaching license. There is much debate over the use of these tests and their ability to document accurately the skills and talents one has a teacher. Many argue that classroom-based performance assessments are better measures of ones skills and talents as a teacher.
Although I do not think that the standardized tests encompass all aspects of what is a good teacher, I think that there is value in them. In order to be an effective teacher, it is necessary to know many concepts relating to how to teach certain things and how to plan a lesson. These standardized tests make sure that the teacher “knows what she is talking about” and knows how to teacher her students correctly. Without these tests, I think that there would be a lot of teachers who could “put on a good show”, but have little knowledge to back up what they are saying or understanding how to teach something most effectively. IN this way, passing a test can show, in a limited way, your skills and talent as a teacher.
However, being a teacher requires more than just “book smarts.” This is where classroom-based performance assessments better measure skills and talents as a teacher. In this, prospective teachers must put their knowledge to work. These assessments can measure how well a teacher has a classroom under control, how they interact with students, and how well they communicate information to their classroom. This is the most important part, because if they can’t communicate what they are trying to teach, they are not doing their job as a teacher, no matter how much knowledge they have in their head.

To find out what is required to get a teaching license in South Carolina, follow this link:http://ed.sc.gov/agency/se/Educator-Services/Licensure/

Organizing Classes for Differentiated Learning

For many years, students have spent large amounts of time in the classroom just sitting and listening to teachers lecture and provide explanation, and even today, very little has changed even with many new technologies with educational capabilities. There are many assistive technologies available today that make many new educational experiences and instructional practices possible.
Teachers can design classes to rely less on lecturing and more on differentiated learning by students. They can do this by creating many different experiences using technology that appeal to many different kinds of learners with differing abilities. Visuals can be given on a smart board and students can interact with it. There are many more, and some great ideas can be found on the following links:
http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/what-differentiated-instruction
http://differentiationcentral.com/
http://www.tpsnva.org/teach/best_practices/diff_instruct_bulletin_elem.pdf
In my opinion, there is an almost never ending list of teaching methods and assistive technologies that can foster increased student engagement. These methods I think, should include things such as an element of visual appeal and relevant examples. Discussions, role plays, and small group work using computer technologies are great, but have their own strengths and drawbacks. You have to make sure virtual experiences can be applied and used in the real world and apply directly to the content. You also have to ensure online security and make sure that students stay on topic and do not put anything inappropriate. They are great however, because they connect more people more easily and allow students to work together even if they are not in the same place.

Teaching Media-Immersed Students

From an extremely early age, even as early as six months old, children use multiple media sources of media and many technologies. Studies are ongoing as show large psychological and sociological impacts on students. These things are extremely important to remember when teaching in a classroom filled with children who have grown up in this environment. As a teacher, you need to organize instructional strategies to capture and maintain the attention of students in your class.
Teachers must also decide how often they will use media technologies in each class. I think that since these technologies are becoming more and more important in the professional world, and daily life, I think they should be used at least once each week in each subject area. For example, on Monday, we could use media to explain a science concept, and on Tuesday, a math concept. I also think they should be used multiple times a day if possible. However, the traditional methods do not need to be forgotten, so these technologies should be balanced with traditional skills such as handwriting and brainstorming on paper. If students are having trouble understanding something using technology, I will decide to use it less on this subject and go back to traditional methods. If students are having trouble using traditional methods, I will explain it in a new way using these media technologies.
Another important factor is deciding what technologies are best to use to promote education and engagement. This is important because we do not want these technologies to be purely entertainment, without educational value. I think this is something that has to be done by preparation and experimentation. Using things like online teacher communities, I can find many ratings and reviews of these technologies. I can then also discuss them with the other teachers at my school and then spend time in preparation for class by using them myself and putting myself in the position of the students I will be teaching. Here are some links that list, with a short description, many different technologies you can try and examine:

http://www.edudemic.com/50-education-technology-tools-every-teacher-should-know-about/
http://catlintucker.com/2011/11/12-tech-tools-that-will-transform-your-classroom/
http://www.teachthought.com/technology/25-teaching-tools-to-organize-innovate-manage-your-classroom/

Analyzing Text Messaging and Microblogging

Communication technologies such as text messaging and microblogging connect people electronically. These things are enjoyed mostly by adolescents, college age students and other adults under the age of 50. The most common form of microblogging is Twitter. These social media technologies are huge, and an important part of lives, and they aren’t going away any time soon.

These communication technologies can also be used as educational technologies. They can provide ways for teachers to communicate with students outside of class as well as a way for students to collaborate even if they are far apart in distance. They can also provide ways to share educational content such as articles and images related to classroom content.

These communication tools come from a long line of communication technologies such as the printing press, telephone, and television. However, these new technologies have decreased the for these devices by doing the same jobs in simpler and faster ways. Text messaging and microblogging differ from things that use the printing press because information can be spread quicker and without the use of paper. However, they have to same purpose, to communicate and spread thoughts and new ideas.

I think text messaging and microblogging could play several roles in the future for classroom teaching and academic learning. Many of their roles are starting today. Teachers can use group text services to send reminders to their students about assignments and upcoming events. Students could collaborate and communicate with projects through this also. Microblogging could also let students and teachers spread their ideas about a topic see what the opinions of people around the world on a subject.

Here is a great post from the New York Times about this topic: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/05/13/ask-teachers-about-twitter-and-microblogging-in-the-classroom/?_r=0

Word Clouds

Word clouds are a very creative way to show an overview of the main focus or what is discussed the most in a certain text. There are several different ways to create a word cloud. Three of the best are found at wordle.nettagxedo.com, and abcya.com/word_clouds. With many of these sites, you can copy and paste the text you want to draw from, eliminate common word like “and” or “but.” Some also let you assign a number ot each word to show its importance or times of occurrence. You can also customize the font, color, and layout. Some programs also form the words into specific shapes that you can change depending on the topic. The following word cloud shows what words are used most often in this blog. The bigger the word, the more times it occurs in this blog. https://dl-web.dropbox.com/get/wordle%20(2).jpg?_subject_uid=379851753&w=AAANbKzhkJCw9VPw4_BvGqY8EmZdr8AwKH1BYEAVIXlZxw