Monday, July 30, 2012

5 Reasons to Allow Students to Use Cell Phones in Class Reflection

I thought this article was short and sweet and contained valid information.  However, I don't necessarily agree with all of it.  I think it went over everything in a very general black and white kind of way.  There are always some gray areas in education.  Overall, I think exposing students to technology is important, especially technology they will be encountering on a daily basis.  I also think there needs to be a balance.  Allowing students to use their cell phones in class whenever they want is not realistic.  Maybe it is because I am working in the elementary grades, but students must have some restrictions or some limits.  Younger children especially have not learned certain limits and could potentially use cell phones for inappropriate behaviors.  Many younger students are still learning how to mature and are still pushing boundaries, allowing students to use their phones whenever they want could be a huge distraction for other students.  Of course I want to think the best of all my students but I know from experience that allowing too much freedom can be a mistake.  In general I agree with all the reasons.   I completely agree with preparing students for life after class. teaching students to use their cell phones as a resource could be extremely beneficial, but I don't think allowing students to use their phones whenever they want will contribute to this fact.  I think there can be time in class to use it and times not to use it.  I thought the point about student's cheating was interesting because I do think teachers tend to distrust students a lot when it comes to testing.  I think we should be using more PBL approaches when teaching which would eliminate the need to worry about cheating.  I believe students should be exposed to different resources within the technology field.  Cell phones are a resource that can be used widely because of the popularity among smart phones.  Students have access to internet, apps, and other resources on their phone.  However, I do believe a classroom is a place for learning and there should be rules and limits and students need to learn to follow them, because in the work place there will also most likely be rules and procedures to follow.  As a teacher, I am not supposed to be on my phone whenever I want during school hours, I would expect the same from my students.  That is not to say I don't ever want my students on their cell phones, I just think there is a time and place.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

My Digital Story

video
For my digital video I created a script and then used power point to make each slide a different segment of my story.  I included the script and pictures into the power point.  I then timed each power point slide so that is was readable.  Once my power point was complete I used imovie to create my final digital story with music.  I added the music in the background and timed it with the slides.  That is how I created my digital story!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

PowerPoint is Evil Reflection

I couldn't help but laugh a little bit while reading this article.  Although some of what Tufte is saying is relevant, he goes on a rant and sounds incredibly bitter.  Yes, powerpoint can be overused and can be dry, or done in a ineffective way.  But, powerpoint can also be VERY effective and can be used in lots of ways.  For example, I used powerpoint to put together a digital story slide show that I later made into a movie for my students.  I also have sat through powerpoint presentations that outlined information that was essential in my understanding of the topics.  Powerpoints can help presenters stay on topic and help outline IDEAS.  Obviously, no one enjoys sitting through  a dry presentation where the presenter reads everything off their slides.  It depends on the person who put the presentation together and HOW they present the information.  I don't think it is fair for Tufte to blame the actual powerpoint program.  The trick is to have a strong presentation to go along with the powerpoint.  The slides should serve as an outline or supporting information (like pictures).  I think teaching students how to use tools/resources while giving a presentation can be very effective because we are teaching them how to publicly speak while outlining main ideas and points.

Lesson: The Power of Words (4-5) Reflection

In this lesson, "Students discuss all the ways they use technology for communication, put themselves in the shoes of children who are cyberbullied on a kids’ game website, and explore both the similarities and differences between in-person versus online communication. Students then brainstorm ways to respond to cyberbullying (http://www.commonsensemedia.org/educators/lesson/power-words-4-5)."

This lesson was really interesting to read and I think would be very effective in the classroom, especially with the older grades.  In todays age, students are exposed and participating to more online communication which in turn can lead to cyber bullying.  I really liked how this lesson is not just the teacher lecturing and how the kids must be involved.  I also really liked how students were encouraged to talk about the positive aspects of technology and how it can be used in fun ways.

Teaching this lesson in 4 steps or in 4 ways helps reinforce the importance of the power of words.  Students work together and collaborate in a safe setting.  I think the way the lesson was set up would lead to interesting results and effective behavior.  Overall, this lesson is important and could be altered to fit an grade level.

Visit to Free Technology for Teachers Blog

I recently went to free technology for teachers blog (http://www.freetech4teachers.com/) and I was amazed with how many resources and ideas were on this blog.  Just reading through the different resources I started to think about all the great ways I could use them in my classroom.  For example, the "overlap maps" resource is amazing.  Students can visually see the relative size of different countries, cities, provinces, etc.  They can even compare the size of one place to the size of another place.  I definitely could see myself using this in the classroom during a social studies/geography unit.  Another resource I found really interesting was the "5 free tools for curating educational videos from across the web."  I think a lot of people always go straight for youtube and think that is the only resource for free educational videos, but there are more out there!  This blog talks about Miro, Squrl, yokto, plizy, and chill.  I think this blog has amazing resources for all teachers, not matter what grade they are teaching.  The best part is all the technology mentioned is FREE!

Friday, June 22, 2012

How important is it to use visuals in the classroom?

I think it is incredibly important to incorporate visuals in the classroom.  Some students are visual learners while others are not and I think there needs to be a balance between the two.  Because there is more and more technology in the classroom now, having visual aids is not hard to do.  Educators are using visuals in many forms including, podcasts, videos, docu-cameras, pictures, etc.  One teacher, Dan Meyer, talked about the importance of using visuals and in what ways to use visuals in his blog (http://blog.mrmeyer.com/?p=1526) Suzie Boss wrote an article about Dan Meyer and how he uses visuals in his classroom (http://www.edutopia.org/visuals-math-curriculum).  Meyer talks about how he is constantly looking for new visuals to bring into the classroom to enrich students learning further.  He talks about how teachers have a lot of creativity that they need to express and can do so by using visuals and other innovative teaching techniques/aids in the classroom.  He decided to try something on his blog where he posted 2 pictures of a costa rica license plate and a California license plate.  He asked teachers to comment on them by asking "What can you do with this?"  He knew teachers would come up with creative ways to use the pictures in the class.  He got lessons ranging from permutations to air quality to social justice, all based on two license plates.  I thought it was really interesting how he was able to get so much feedback that could be used.  He explained that teachers pushed beyond most obvious suggestions to come up with an original idea.  He also went on to say how blogs are a great place to get ideas for incorporating visuals into your lesson and  how to do so.  I think it is so important to use visuals as often as possible because it reinforces information/content.  I can relate to students who enjoy visuals because I myself am a visual learner.  There is something about actually seeing an object, picture, video, or whatever to further understand information.  The value of visuals and multiple resources or avenues for information is extreme.