Prezi: Book Unit Introduction

This is a moving presentation that introduces a book unit for a fourth grade class. It includes a video, graphics, and several subject areas. It introduces the setting, the author, vocabulary, and the major characters in the book. Here is a link to the Prezi presentation:https://prezi.com/2nzkgku0jrsi/

winn dixie

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Teaching Creativity with Technology

How I Will Go About Teaching Creativity
Creativity is very important to me, so I will try to do my best to help my students be more creative. I will do this by having centers in my elementary classroom that are designed around letting students be creative. There could be centers/stations that include creative elements like an art center and drama station. This lets them get out of their desk and think creatively. I could also do this by collaborating with other teachers such as related arts teacher to let students do creative things that they already do in these classes and connect it with the content I am teaching. This way students will understand the concept better and will be able to apply it creatively.
Technology Promoting Creativity
Technology can help students plan or design what they are going to do creatively. They can make models and blueprints with computer software. Technology also gives students more creative options. With technology software, students could do things like design an invention that involves tools and equipment that they do not have access to in real life. These are things that can be done in various ways in every grade level.

Here is a link to a great webpage discussing ways to promote creativity with technology: http://edtechreview.in/trends-insights/insights/1155-how-to-promote-creativity-in-your-classroom

Evaluating Digital Games for Learning

learning games graph

Elementary: War Pretzels: http://mrnussbaum.com/warpretzels-play : Understanding/Edutain : This game focuses on understanding the skill of addition. The student is given a one digit addition problem and they have to choose between several choices what the answer to the question is. If they choose the correct answer, then their “pretzel” icon on the screen will earn a point against the computer competitor. Although this game is pretty entertaining, it is still pretty shallow as it only works on the skill of one digit addition and does no applying or other higher order thinking.

Middle: Chevron’s Energyville: http://www.energyville.com/energyville/ : Creating/Educate : This is a game that enables students to power a virtual city that they create efficiently. It requires students to make decisions about how to power their city and let the see the consequences of their choices. There is a lot of pieces of information that is given based on how the student creates power for their city.


High School: Tyrannosaurus Prep: http://sat.tyrannosaurusprep.com/ : Remember/Educate: This game is basically an online quiz that helps students remember the definition/synonyms of words that may appear on the SAT or similar standardized test. Students are given three choices, it is not entertaining, but it does help students remember definitions by practicing them.

Top Sources of Information

With internet connections on mobile devices in addition to desktops, the way people get information is changing. For the adult population, studies have found that newspapers are the first choice for information about local events, television for weather and breaking news, and the Web for information about business. It is a tie between the internet and papers for things like housing, schools, and jobs. My top sources of information are more heavily put on Web sources, with me using newspapers and television less than the rest of the adult population. I find information about community events on the web with sites such as Facebook. I also look up weather, traffic, and businesses more often on my phone. Therefore, my top source of information in almost all areas is the Web.
I feel like students use the internet, with some television, as their main source of information. Students probably know more about how to find things on the web than I do because they have never known a time without portable, internet connected devices while I have. It is important to remember when planning instruction and looking at curriculum that students may have access to many answers by simply typing their question into Google.com or another search engine. This means that teachers may need to come up with unique, creative questions so that students do not rely on the information online, but solely on what they know. It also means that curriculum should include research methods that focus on the use of the internet.

Lesson Development and Performance Evaluation

LESSON DEVELOPMENT

The learning objectives format and the Understanding by Design approach are both approaches to lesson planning. These forms of lesson planning both organize 3 elements: teachers’ goals, methods, and procedures to structure learning for students. Student learning objectives use “goals for what students will know or will be able to do after instruction by teachers,” according to Maloy in the textbook, Transforming Learning with New Technologies. These do not include the activities themselves, but the intended outcome of the instructional activities. With Understanding by Design, teachers come up with understandings and essential questions to base teaching, learning, and assessments. I think the advantage to the UBD, or Understanding by Design) is that it provides a more detailed guide by addressing desired results like the objectives format does, but also further discusses teaching methods and crafts the way the lesson will be taught. However, objectives are really easy to understand and give a clear goal to instruction while UBD is not so clear on the finished product. With a 3 week plan for math, you could say, using a student learning objective: In week one, the student will be able to identify if the slope of a line is negative or positive given a graphed line. In week 2, the student will be able to find the slope of a line given a formula and the coordinates of two points on the line. In week 3, students will be able to find the slope of the line without being given the formula.

Lesson Planning Resource Links:  http://www.educationoasis.com/curriculum/LP/LP_resources/lesson_objectives.htm

http://www.ascd.org/research-a-topic/understanding-by-design-resources.aspx

PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENTS

Performance assessments are used in many places, in sports, music, and in the work force. However, in the classroom, they are less common since assessments are most often in the form of exams. The forms of assessment that I found most helpful in my learning, however, were those that were performance based. When I had to use what I had learned to do something, like come up with a presentation, publish a brochure, or participate in a debate, I think I came to understand the material much more deeply. Tests were often very unhelpful, because they would cause me to memorize facts and concepts for the test, but soon after I would forget the information, and it had no effect on me. However, I think that as a teacher I will still use test assessments for things in my elementary classroom such as multiplication and division and spelling tests. Knowledge that needs to be memorized such as multiplication or the spelling of words, I think, are best assessed by a test as students need to be able to produce this information in a quick and easy manner. However, the understanding of things like understanding literature, artistic concepts, and scientific research is best assessed through performance, portfolios, and presentations as they are not so objective to be able to be measured on a test.

Social Bookmarking

Like cloud services, social bookmarking is a relatively new convenient, easy to use internet service. According to http://dictionary.reference.com/, social bookmarking is “the practice of saving bookmarked Web pages to a public website as a way to share the links with other Internet users. One such program is https://www.diigo.com/. This service helps you bookmark links, pages, notes, and pictures for easy future access. Once saved, your information is easily organized and simple to find on any device. Another advantage is improved collaboration for groups. There are also tools on Diigo, such as highlights and sticky notes to use to provide feedback and get attention. With a different style, but similar concept is http://pinterest.com which is set up like a pinboard using image collections that allow other users to “re-pin” others posts so they can access them later. Another is http://stubleupon.com that helps you find new and interesting things online. You tell the service what you like and it introduces you to web pages, videos, and more. Lastly is Reddit, which is very unique in its setup. It has less visuals and is more textual. Users can submit links, vote up or down on content, comment on links, have “friends” . Based on number of votes, stories are organized on the page. This link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tlI022aUWQQ can help you better understand how this site works.

Experiences with Cloud Services

Many of us have used flash drives for several years. They are easy, just insert into any computer, and have access to our files. However, in the past few years, an even better storage solution has been on the rise, cloud based storage. According to http://www.pcmag.com/encyclopedia/term/60889/cloud-storage, cloud storage is a “backup and storage service on the Internet.” They are very practical as they provide access to files on any device without having to carry a flash drive or CD around with you. This is also helpful if your computer crashes, as you can have your files in a safe location as a backup. This is also helpful in that it can save space on your computer as these files are not stored on the hard drive. There are many different cloud services that are free to use. Two of the most popular cloud services are Google Drive which can be accessed through http://www.google.com with your Google account. This service is convenient as it is organized and can be connected with other services you may use from Google like YouTube, Google Play, and Gmail. Through Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides, you can even create new documents without having Microsoft Office on your computer. Another similar programs is Microsoft Live, https://login.live.com/ , which also allows you to not only store, but create documents. The plus side of this is that the format is Microsoft, so it is very easy and familiar if you are used to using programs like Word and PowerPoint. Although, they do not allow you to create new documents online, https://www.dropbox.com/ and https://www.copy.com/companies/?signup=1&r=7vRUpW&signup=1 also provide great cloud storage. They give you a certain amount of storage for free, but more storage can be purchased or earned in different ways.

Apps for Learning

I use several apps to support my learning as a college students in a teacher education program. The two primary apps I use are Microsoft Word and PowerPoint. These are extremely important as most of my written assignments have to be word processed. PowerPoint is my go to app when creating presentations for various classes. Another important app to my success as a college students is the reminders app that comes on the iPad. This app allows me to keep up with assignment due dates and keep up with all of my classes at once. I fairly new app to me that supports my learning is the Pearson eText app. Since many of my classes have eBooks, this app helps me easily get to and navigate these textbooks.

Apps have definitely changed how I function as a student and consumer. As a student, I no longer rely only on my paper planner. I have access to what is due and when with an app. I no longer carry around a book for each class, I simply press an app to view the book. Search engine apps have made it easier to research information without having to have a large, heavy laptop. Apps have also greatly changed my function as a consumer. I no longer only shop in stores. Amazon and Pinterest apps help me find and purchase items that may not be in stores near me. I can simply search what I am looking for and these apps bring it up, or I can discover many new products that I have never seen before.

I think smartphones and tablet computer apps are tools for both teachers and direct instructional devices for students. If technology helps teachers in their work, shouldn’t it also help his or her students in their work? I do not believe a teacher should use technology without letting her students use technology. Apps are great for teachers to organize and have easy access to information. They also can provide teachers with better ways to instruct their students. Apps are also very valuable to student learning. Through apps, they have access to many different ways to learn information. There are apps such as BrainPop that allow students to learn information through fun, interactive videos. There are also game apps that allow students to practice information, such as interactive multiplication games. These are all ways that I could use apps in teaching.

 Apps

Technology Usage Reflection

            The results of this survey are not really surprising to me, but I realize that technology is an even bigger part of my life than I even expect. If I was to tell you what technology I use most, I would say that I make presentations and a word processor regularly for school, and use several social networks daily such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. However, I have even more knowledge about social technology than I really realize. I use text message, email, check the weather, news and every other thing not only daily, but almost regularly.  I have a great strength in using technology to communicate with the world around me and learn what is going on all over the road.

Although I am very good at using technology in a social aspect, I am not as good as using it creatively in my education. The only things I really use are google searches, Word, and PowerPoint. There is so much more I could do with it. I could use an online study group with my peers or use more online resources to understand and practice content more deeply. I am not too good at learning new technologies to give presentations. I have played with Prezi some, but am nowhere near proficient.

Those are things I think I could really improve on in this course. I would like to learn how I could create presentations in the classroom that are more engaging and interactive than PowerPoints. I would also like to learn how to use technology to better explain and organize information. I am also nervous about using new and unique software and apps, but in this course I want to become more comfortable and confident using new software and apps. I think this course would greatly help me be a better teacher to this generation of children.