Reflection

life-reflectionThis class has definitely been an eye opener for me. My outlook toward online classes from the beginning of this class through now is like night and day… total opposite. When I was first signed up for this class, I was extremely nervous because I had never taken an online class before, and I had no idea how it was going to work or even how I was going to handle it. I am a procrastinate at heart, and I do my best work under the pressure of a fast approaching timeline. After having a few online meetings, doing a complete project without any face-to-face interaction, and learning completely new lessons without ever meeting my teacher or sitting in a lecture, I am confidant that my fears of this online class were completely preposterous.

wilf-logoI have learned quite a bit from this class. I learned much more than I ever expected. The technology that is out there for teachers and students is overwhelming. I know I didn’t learn everything that is in existence that could be facilitated in a classroom setting because that would entail a daily class for the rest of my life with how quickly things change and new things are developed. Not only did I learn about the numerous technological advances that I can benefit from as well as my students, I learned abounding details about myself. There is so much I will be walking away with from this class that was probably never intended.

Screen-Shot-2012-07-01-at-8.01.18-AMJust simply being scared to death to take an online class was enough to start me out with several weaknesses. However, my innate nature to help others proved to be a strength when we worked on our Google group project. My procrastination and late night study habits aided in this as well. Not having preexisting knowledge to most of the technology and techniques I’ve learned about made it helpful for me to follow the directions and absorb the information.

peer learningThe interaction between me and my peers was mostly sparse which made the Google group project a little difficult. The convenience of an online class is the flexibility you have around the things already going on in your life. However, when you have a group project to work on, not everyone is working on the same schedule. This tasks proved difficult but not impossible. I am proud to say that the group I am in came together and helped each other out. My interaction with my instructor has been great. I’ve never had a question that couldn’t be answered or an issue that couldn’t be solved. Outside of group projects and instructor, the only communications with my other classmates has been through the blog postings. It’s been great to read their comments.

tin-cans-istock_000011885996xsmallThe communication tools used in this class were a variety of sorts. Google drive was widely used to share our various projects, and email was the most common use of one on one communication on my part. Google drive was a great advantage because you were in control of who your files are shared with and the ease of which they were shared.  I prefer my Gmail account because it is actually linked to my phone and no matter where I was, I could answer or ask a question. I often forgot that the BlackBoard email option was there, but it is the form of communication I used most often with my instructor. The disadvantage there was I wouldn’t know when a response came. Our blogs were a good form of expressing ideas to our peers on their ideas and projects. The advantage here was that you could see the different perspectives classmates had on the lesson, and who had similar issues.

blogThis was my first experience with a blogfolio. I really liked it and have found some really good uses through this resource. I like the personalization aspect of it. There are several themes and options to choose from. When I first picked my theme, I then realized someone else in class had the same thing. Just to change it up a bit I discovered there were even options in the one theme I selected. I enjoyed learning how to hyperlink in my blogs and the insertion of images. I really hadn’t used text wrap with images much before this class. So even from the very beginning of class, I was learning. I have always enjoyed writing and I keep a daily journal of life events, and such. I’ve often been told it would be so much easier if I kept a blog. I think I just enjoy the aspect of the pen scrolling across the paper too much.

This entry was posted on December 1, 2013. 3 Comments

Assistive Technology

8-helpful-assistive-technology-tools-for-your-classroomThis was an interesting assignment. I never knew my computer could do all those things. However, I am glad to know that if I had a student that needed this assistance, I now know how to help them. I did have a little difficulty with a few aspects of this assignment. First off, I was using a laptop with Windows 8. I was still able to do everything that was required in the directions, but just a few things were different in getting me to the right spot. One part of the assignment caused me the most difficulty, but it wasn’t due to directions but rather my own laptop. One lesson explained how to turn on toggle keys. One step was to hold the NUM LOCK key down for 5 seconds. I searched and searched my keyboard for a NUM LOCK key and was completely unsuccessful. I even searched the internet for my laptop model to see where it is. As it turns out my laptop doesn’t have one. I was so wrapped up in finding that NUM LOCK key that I didn’t notice the only thing I had to do was select APPLY in the application window for the feature to become active. I had a really good laugh at myself for that one. I didn’t have any other problems with this assignment. It was really easy to follow, and the example was very helpful too. I look forward to being able to use this knowledge in my future classroom for students who need the assistance.

Here is the link to my PowerPoint on this assignment:

Assistive Technology

This entry was posted on December 1, 2013. 2 Comments

Turnitin

2527676_300This was an eye opening assignment for me. I had never used this tool before. There was definitely nothing like this when I was in school, and thus far in my higher education career, none of my teachers had this in their curriculum. I didn’t have any problems with the first part of the assignment. I searched and found websites pertaining to the topics I needed without any issues. I was able to copy and paste the information. Submitting the first version was a breeze. Of course it came back with 100% plagiarized with no surprise there. Feeling slightly nervous, however, I began to type my responses in my own words. I have a hard time summarizing simply because my OCD doesn’t like for me to leave details out. It’s a terrible curse! Nonetheless, I proceeded to summarize the information I had read. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be when I got ready to submit the second version. I think it was mostly due to the fact that I knew if my percentage was above the requirement that I had a safety net in being able to at least resubmit it again. I will admit I was very shocked when the results came back with 0%. I had done better that I ever would have given myself credit for. This was a very educational assignment for me. It really taught me something about myself and not just the technological tool available to me. The only issue that arose with me on this assignment was that I submitted my second version at the cut off time and it locked me out. I was able to come back to it and see my results. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to download my results in a PDF form so I am having difficulty sharing what I did download wit my peers.

I fully indent on using this in my future classroom because this tool not only shows a percentage of copied work, it breaks it down for the student. Because ideas and the written works of others are so prevalent accessible in this technological age, it’s important to know how to cite work when referencing it and how to write work of your own.

Here is the link to my assignment:

Version II

Version II results

This entry was posted on December 1, 2013. 1 Comment

Technology in Special Education

photo Being a special education major, I try my best to learn all I can to help my students reach their goals and exceed their potential. However, the field of special education has its own obstacles to overcome when  integrating technology for these students.

There are six issues affecting the use of technology in special education. They are as follows:

1. Legal and policy directives. Not only do teachers and administrators have to be governed by laws and policies, the technology used for students with special needs have laws and policies. The two cited in the textbook are The Technology-Related Assistance Act for Individuals with Disabilities passed in 1988 and Reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act in 1997.

2. Implications of the No Child Left Behind Act for special education. The NCLB Act brings public awareness on the persistent under achievement of students with disabilities with the requirement of the Annual Yearly Progress.

3. Need for trained personnel. Extra efforts are needed to educate future educators in the ways of technology use and integration of it into the classroom.

4. Requirements for inclusive classrooms. Since the implementation of inclusion into the general classroom, students with special needs have physically been included into the general classroom, but issues still remain when the students are not able to participate as the general classroom students do.

5. Universal design for learning. Until the universal design is applied to the general education curriculum, teachers will always have to make modifications to their lessons.

6. Web accessibility. Websites are user difficult if you are someone with a disability. A universal design is needed.

Some applications of assistive, instructional, and productive technologies used in the classrooms of students with special needs:

  • Students with mild and moderate to severe disabilities use reading skill software, text-to-speech products and interactive story books in reading. In writing, students use voice recognition and word prediction software. Graphing software, drills, games, and tutorials are used in math.
  • Students with physical disabilities are provided with alternative methods of accessing keyboard, mouse and/or monitor. The best placement of adaptive technologies is determined, and training is provided to ensure the student is able to operate independently. To ensure maximum level of participation obtainable without undue physical demands, correct function is monitored.
  • Students with sensory disabilities such as blindness use canes and other sensory technologies to assist in movement, text-to-Braille converters, and screenreaders. Students who are visually impaired use closed-circuit television magnification systems, and built-in computer screen magnification control panels. Students who are hearing impaired use FM amplification systems.
  • At-risk students utilize electronic quizzes and other materials that provide immediate feedback on performance as well as software and websites that provide motivating opportunities to engage in learning activities.
  • Students with gifts and talents have tools provided to engage in self-directed research, and tools to document learning experiences.
This entry was posted on December 1, 2013. 1 Comment

Integrating Technology into the Mathematics and Science Classrooms

Mathematics, science, and technology all work hand in hand to advance each other. Mathematics makes science. Science makes technology. Technology makes more science.  This is why it is so important to have our students work with technology in their mathematics and science classes. Mathematics is such an in-depth subject with each level building on the one before. It is so much easier to help a student understand mathematics when they can clearly ‘see’ what the numbers are doing.  Manipulative materials have allowed students to physically see how 3-2=1 so they can better understand mathematical concepts. Technology in the classroom can help students even further. Here are some key strategies for using technology in the mathematics classroom.

math1. Using virtual manipulatives. Students use simulated activities that was once done with real objects. The advantage is the virtual manipulative is more flexible.

2. Fostering mathematical problem solving. The true test of mathematical understanding is problem solving. Introducing students to the correct technology to apply their mathematical knowledge and achieve a problem solving tactic is a great accomplishment. Technology gives students a variety of ways to explore problem solving.

3. Allowing representation of mathematical principles. Technology has enriched the way students can learn mathematics through various representations. Dynamic geometry software engages students in an environment of discoveries.

4. Implementing data-driven curricula. Technology provides an ideal means of developing skills students need to relate to data analysis. Spreadsheets are a great way for technology to help students answer the “what if” questions.

5. Supporting math-related communications. The technology of the internet allows students to communicate with experts from around the world and interact with other students.

6. Motivating skill building and practice. It’s important for students to learn advanced mathematics, but technology allows students to do drill and practice lessons to keep their basic skills sharp.

The decline has been rampant of students entering into the fields of math, science, and engineering. Advancements in those fields could cause a drastic impact on the world as we know it. That is why it’s very important to get technology in our next generation of thinkers as soon as possible. Here are some strategies for implementing technology into the classroom of science.

science_main21.  Supporting authentic science experiences. It’s very imperative that students engage in hands-on learning in science and be able to apply the knowledge gained to their life experiences.

2. Supporting scientific inquiry skills. Technology can be used for locating information to investigate scientific issues and questions, collecting data, visualizing data and phenomena, analyzing data, and communicating results.

3. Supporting science concept learning. Strategies that are technology-based can simulate and model the scientific processes and make it possible for students to engage in inquiry.

4. Accessing science information and tools. Simulations are a great tool in the science classroom for students to experience. With the rate that science knowledge changes, books and such become quickly outdated. The internet provides accessible reliable sources of current information.

As teachers, we need to be willing to provide the most up-to-date, accurate, and accessible knowledge to our students. Technology helps us provide that knowledge in an efficient manner.

This entry was posted on December 1, 2013. 1 Comment

Classroom Website

teacher_web_pagesThis assignment was an absolute joy for me to do! I really look forward to utilizing this tool for my future classroom.  I was able to design it how I wanted within the required guidelines.  It was really easy to maneuver around and set things up like I wanted them to be. I also found that editing was easy too.  The only problem I encountered was the original heading I selected blended too well with my background and was difficult to see. I made another header that I was happy with and used it instead and everything looked fine.  I really liked the features I was able to use.  Having a personal page made me feel like the parents and students would be able to connect to me better.  I would be more that just a teacher.  The webpage would allow parents who can’t always meet the teacher to at least to a face to a name and a little background information too.  I can remember many times when my children would come home with a project or some homework that they didn’t fully understand. Sometimes there wouldn’t be directions, or my child would forget them, and if the teacher had a website like this for me to see what is going on at 9pm at night when my child decides to ask for help, I might would have been better equip to have helped them.  I would definitely make sure the classroom calendar stayed up to date for parents and students to stay current on what’s going on in the classroom and even some community events.  I decided to add an addition to my website that wasn’t required for the assignment, but I thought would be a great idea.  I added a scavenger hunt and bonus trivia.  My classroom website will have this little tidbit.  I think it’s a great way to keep the students interested in the website and to keep them coming back to review the information.  For the amount of time it took to make this website using the Google tools, it would be really easy to keep up and maintain.  I wish my child’s current and previous teachers would have utilized this tool because it is a really good resource for students and parents.

Here is the link to my website Miss Suzie’s Classroom

This entry was posted on November 30, 2013. 1 Comment

Integrating the Internet into the Cirriculum

internet in cirriculumIntegrating the internet into the classroom curriculum is becoming as common as recess and lunchtime. Teachers are seeing the advantages the internet can provide for their students. There are lots of activities that the internet can provide students with to help and motivate them to achieve their tasks and objectives. There are three basic categories for the generalization of integration of internet into the curriculum and they are: interpersonal exchanges, information collection and analysis, and problem solving. Interpersonal exchanges are when students communicate via technology to other students, teachers, or experts. Information collection and analysis provides data and information on request. Problem solving involves student-oriented and cooperative problem solving projects.

Interpersonal exchanges can occur when students have electronic pen pals, or electronic mentoring. Electronic pen pals allows students to write letters or diary type entries to other students outside of their community. These students could be in the next county, state or even country. Electronic mentoring gives students a one-on-one opportunity with experts on the subject matter. Information collection and analysis projects can happen in the form of electronic field trips, electronic publishing, or group project development. Electronic field trips give students the chance to see people, places, and things they wouldn’t ordinarily be able to see in their community or region. It provides real world opportunities to their fingertips. Electronic publishing gives students the chance to have their creativeness shared to other students that aren’t necessarily their peers and by visitors  to the site. This could provide the students to have their work critiqued also. In group product development, students can work together for a common whole project, or even individually in chain writing. Problem solving is presented to students with problem-based learning when learning is organized around the investigation and resolution of a problem. Also, social action projects require problem solving. Students can learn about and address social, economic, political, or environmental conditions on a global scale.

All of these tools of integration can help students with their existing classroom needs. Several of them will even overlap with their objectives and goals. Some integrating strategies are support for student research, motivation for writing, practice for information literacy skills, visual learning problems and solutions, development of collaboration skills, and multicultural experiences. Student research seems to be ever-present in any grade now. By being able to integrate web-based mentoring with their web searches and web-based video resources, students can have an abundance of information to relay. Some students have a difficult time when it comes to writing. When students write for audiences other than their immediate peers or teachers, they seem to produce better writings. They are more apt to make sure their spelling, grammar, and ideas are thought out. Giving students opportunities to use web resources effectively and efficiently has become a key part of classroom learning. Visual learning can help all students not just the visual learners. Many sites are visually learning based with animations, videos, and images that assist students with complex subjects or topics. Development of collaboration skills can give students the opportunities to work together on projects and incorporating web-based tools for this collaboration gives them plenty of experience. Multicultural experiences are made possible to a greater understanding and extent due to involving the students in Photo 2013-05-08 08.21.38 AMweb-based research. It gives them insight and perspectives they might possibly not have had a chance to explore.

A good teacher will know how to use her resources and tools to help her students reach their full potential of knowledge.

This entry was posted on October 19, 2013. 2 Comments