Friday, April 26, 2013

Reflective Post

In reflection upon my most recent course of Intro to Technology for Educators, I learned things that I did not think I would encounter in such a course. I can say that there have been times I have sat and scratched my head about issue I had just read about in our book, Transforming learning with new technologies, or maybe I was excited on an article I recently read and tagged it to my Delicious account.

I did like the fact that the Intro to Technology course itself was a challenge for me. The most challenging part for me was that although I am young, I am not what people would call a technologically savvy person. I mean sure I can Google, Facebook, Twitter and use Instagram, but I was never taught to build a website. For the first time in my life, I built my own website from the layout to what I felt it should convey. It was truly an exciting experience and I was very proud of myself and what my efforts had accomplished.

Another very exciting assignment I enjoyed was building a lesson plan online using WebQuest. The simple idea of being able to share lesson plans with others is amazing. I could easily find a lesson plan online that was made by another individual and use it in my classroom, just as easily as they could use mine. This gives teachers endless possibilities when making a lesson plans.

The most instructional assignment that I feel will aid me in the future would have to be the rubric evaluation/critique. One of the most important things as a teacher is making sure the students thoroughly understand what is expected of them in each project, research paper, presentation, etc. The best way to convey this to students, is to allow them to see for themselves by using rubrics. Rubristar is an awesome resource for anyone who is need of making a rubric for any reason.


Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Chapter 11 - Engaging Teacher and Students in Learning and Self-Reflection

Focus Question: How can teachers and students use digital portfolios as tools for learning?

A digital portfolio for a teacher is an individually prepared collection of work that communicates who a teacher is and what that teacher knows and is able to do in academic subjects and classroom teaching.

A standard-based digital portfolio serves as a way for new teacher candidates to connect lesson plans, teaching evaluations, and other work done in the classroom to the specific professional teaching standards they are required to meet in order to earn a teacher license. The advantages of digital portfolios include easy access, ready-made portability, creative information display, experience in developing technology skills, and the sharing of information with a wider educational community. The disadvantages of digital portfolios include the need for technical knowledge and skill, ongoing support, computer access, and time, as well as the possibility that style will override substance in the presentation of information.

I took a little tour of SurveryMonkey and I am quite fond of it. SurveyMonkey is an easy-to-use online survey tool with multiple ways to formulate questions and collect information. It allows one to choose their own layout, to input their own questions, and also to send your survey out to a select group of people. Along with allowing you to design your own survey, it also lets one collect the responses and when collected it also analyzes the results.

Summary & Conclusion

All in all, there are many ways that teachers and students can use digital portfolios as tools for learning. There are many ways that a teacher can allow students to view their progress over time. For example, when I was finishing up my observation hours I noticed the students keeping records of their AR scores in a folder since the beginning of their school year. I have also seen teachers keep flash drives with student work and compared the improvement overtime. It is truly an amazing tool for both teachers and students. It gives the students an inside look of their own achievement and also allows for parents to view the progress of their child.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Chapter 10 - Promoting Success for All Students through Technology

Focus Questions: How does assistive technology support efforts by teachers to reach all learners?

Every student benefits from a wide and carried range of educational experiences that can activate her or his talents and potentials as a learner. Teachers are crucial gatekeepers in how learning proceeds in schools and classrooms. They either move students forward with lively and demanding instructions or they separate students according to perceived needs and talents. Differentiated instruction (DI) and universal design for learning (UDL) involve changing institutional practices and classroom structures to promote learning success for every student.

 In today's educational system, we are able to construct an entire lesson plan that will effectively introduce a topic while making it appealing to all the different types of learners in a classroom. I believe that getting the attention of the "audience" is by far one of the most important aspects of introducing new material. Being able to snatch an entire classrooms attention is all made possible by these assistive technologies. These technologies allow us to bend and twist the ways of teaching and learning for both students and teachers. By doing so, we have allowed for students to find their niche.

 Students can then build on their new personal findings and perhaps accommodate themselves not only in school, but outside of school as well. For instance, I was exposed to different forms of teaching while in middle school and found that I was mainly an auditory learner. I was not aware of how important it is to know what kind of learner one is until I enrolled in college. I was then able to build on this and to this day I use my cellphone as an audio recorder to record my lectures. During my down time, I either play the lecture aloud or plug in my earphones. I find myself recalling almost every detail of the lecture, but most importantly I am able to understand the basis and meaning behind the lecture rather than just the words.  

Tech Tools:
While browsing the internet searching for ways to assist students who are fairly new to the writing process, I came across a Wiki page that elaborates on "Writing Process to Fit Young Writers". This concept was introduced in our book and I found it to be a coincidence that we had just learned how to manage and publish a Wiki page. This Wiki seemed very thorough and well-written as it briefly covers almost every subject imaginable in a primary school setting. 

I also came across a computer software that teaches students to put thoughts together. The student can chose to make a flow chart to encourage brainstorming. When the student is ready, they can move on and start making sentences, which are usually accompanied with pictures. The software also has a built in dictionary and thesaurus that allows the student to select a word that he or she may want to learn more about. I find this to be an efficient yet easy-to-navigate way to introduce students to writing. Being a child that struggled with writing, this tool would have been an excellent way to help me with my writers block.

Summary & Conclusion:

With these assistive technologies we are able to provide pictures and videos to those who are visual and auditory learners and models for those who are kinesthetic learners. Although this new technology is readily available for us to use in such cases, as teachers we must not forget our cause. Unfortunately, I have recently seen cases where the technology has basically replaced the presence and purpose of the teacher. Sure, the technology makes it much easier to accommodate students, but we need not forget that the we must remain actively involved in the students progress and learning development. 


Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Chapter 9 - Creating & Sharing Information with Multimedia

Focus Question: How can teacher use video resources in their teaching?

Videos and DVD's are widely used teaching tools that, when well made, convey important information in academically interesting, visually engaging ways. Videos can sometimes be viewed as a passive experience unless teacher create opportunities for students to engage. For example, the teacher may present a video and ask for the students to write down ten facts they thought were interesting. Or the teacher may ask that the students answer questions that are provided to them before playing the video.

There are many methods that can be used to transform videos from a passive form of learning to a highly interactive form. I am a strong believer in videos and I believe that videos are one of the best ways to portray a message to any audience, whether it be adolescent students or senior citizens. Having a strong like for videos makes it hard for me to sit through a class without at least one video being shown. It can be a brief video, but I feel that it will always get the attention of your class. If you don't believe me, just try it! Teachers don't even have to announce that they are going to play a video. I find it more exciting if the teacher doesn't mention a word about the video and just start playing it out of the blue. Students love it!

I had a teacher in high school, who I think jump started my pro-video belief. We had at least one video in class daily and we all seemed to learn more from this two-minute video than we would have reading a section of our book in thirty minutes. This doesn't mean that we didn't have any book work. We would have tons of book work, but when class started she would play a video of the topic we would be going over in the lecture. This gave all the students a grasp of what we would be learning so we wouldn't be clueless at the beginning of the lecture.

Tech Tool Link: Teacher Tube

I really enjoyed this website. There are videos that teachers can search that can help them get a point across to students are to just brief them over the current subject they're learning. This video can also give ideas to teachers as to how to relate the current subject to their daily activities so the students may become a bit more familiar and comfortable with the subject.

Summary & Conclusion:

I am aware that there are teachers out there who abhor videos in the classroom, but they must remember that we are living in a new generation now. There are things that have changed and these changes are out of their control no matter how hard they try to oppress it in their classroom. So maybe give the students some work throughout the video. Give them some question to answer to make sure they're paying attention or maybe an essay briefing the video. There are many things that teachers can assign to make this a not-so-passive form of learning. I believe that every teacher should be using these new advances in technology to their advantage and what a better way than to show these students what they are learning in your classroom.


Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chapter 8 - Communicating and Networking

Focus Questions: How can teachers use a website or blog to improve teaching and learning?

Websites and blogs have become one of the most used tools for communicating within the last couple of decades. It has emerged as one of the most important ways for teachers to communicate with students, families, and colleagues. After reading chapter 8, I have now learned that there are three basic types of education-related blogs. We have 1) "official-face blogs", 2) single-purpose blogs, and 3) active learning blogs. Each of these blogs serves a different purpose, but they all benefit students, teachers and everyone associated with the school. Teachers also have three different options when creating their own website or blog: 1) do-it-yourself, 2) commercially available, or 3) open source.

Teachers often find that using blogs and websites is one of the most efficient ways to communicate with students and parents these days. Living in this fast-paced, highly technological twenty-first century, one has to quickly learn to adapt to these changes. I remember the days when teachers would send little notes home to parents, but these notes would magically disappear and for the most part were never received by the parent. Nowadays, you rarely have magic tricks being performed on these notes to parents, it's all done with a click of a button. Most teachers have made pretty neat websites for their entire class that benefits all parties. For the most part, teachers have included everything on their websites from their daily lectures, homework (along with the worksheets attached), projects, consent forms for parents, field trip dates, pictures of student work and much more. I am also highly aware of the benefits of having a blog for a classroom, this is a place that students can go to if they have any question for their classmates or for the teacher. There are teachers who have linked their blog to their e-mail address which is then linked to their phone. For example, one of my teachers in high school had a blog for her integrated science class, a student would post a question on the blog and almost instantly her phone would alert her of the new post. She was kind enough to show us an example of this on our first day in her class and we were all amazed. She would make sure to answer any questions posted in a timely manner and she kept this up for the entire year.

This resource can be extremely useful for educators of all sorts. This allows us to customize websites to our liking and to be fitting for students and parents to visit. It also allows for easy  navigation for those who are new to the internet experience. With the use of the programs "plugins" you can virtually do anything imaginable to your website. Therefore, giving you an endless amount of options to customize. It also allows the creator of the website to edit and tweek things to their liking at any point in time. If for some reason, the creator of the website forgot to include something all they have to do is edit the webpage, as simple as editing a Word document.
The link provided below is a websites that has been built for a school, but in my opinion is a perfect layout for a teachers website (all it needs is a few tweeks here and there):

The Perse School Cambridge

Summary & Conclusion:

In conlcusion, there are many ways to communicate nowadays. Teachers greatly benefit from these savvy and useful resources. Whether it be using websites, blogs, e-mails, instant messaging, etc., it gets the job done. Teachers use the means to communicate that works best for them and their students. I believe that depending on what subject is taught, this will alter how the teacher can best communicate with the students. Teacher do need to keep in mind that some students are not as fortunate as others as they do not have the resources to go online. This will hinder the students ability to participate like other students do, but this does not mean that they should be excluded. Similar resources should be offered to the student, such as a phone number to the teacher or even a buddy system. Although notes to parents can seem a bit old school, it is still used all over the world and can be used in situations such as this one.


Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

Friday, March 1, 2013

Chapter 7 - Problem Solving with Software and Web Tools

Focus Question: What are the standard software applications found on most computers today and what open source software alternatives are there?

Software applications commonly used by teachers and students include word processing, electronic databases, spreadsheets, communication software, presentation software, antivirus software, and specialized programs for other specific functions. The commercial product for some of these software applications that we are most familiar with include Microsoft Office, Microsoft Powerpoint, Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, Adobe Photoshop, and Internet Explorer. 
All of these commercial products have what I would like to call a "generic". These generics are commonly known as open source alternatives. For example, we have OpenOffice, OpenOffice Impress, OpenOffice Writer, Xess Spreadsheet, GIMP Image Editor, and Mozilla Firefox. 

These "generics" perform in almost the exact same way that the commercial products do. Although they are both open to the public to use, the commercial products usually charge their users for the service they provide. 

After visiting the Scratch website, I was very surprised at the things that these children are able to make with the use of technology. I was also surprised to find how much of a change these open-ended web tools can provide to the educational system. Teacher are always looking for websites that can provide a different spin for their students. The scratch website can open students up to the different things they can do online. Along with teaching them things they can do, it also allows them to use their imagination and create something original. 

Summary & Conclusion:

 I like the fact that these open-ended web tools are available for teachers to share with their students. These websites promote problem solving and inquiry learning but at the same time it promotes creativity. This website provides students something to look forward to, rather than the same old routine. Enticing students with something unique and different is crucial, especially for younger students. Maintaining their interest in school during their early years is just as important as anything you can teach them.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon. 

Friday, February 22, 2013

Teaching with Educational Websites

Focus Questions: How are information management technologies such as bookmarking, social bookmarking, and information alerts useful to teachers?

Bookmarking, social bookmarking, and information alert technologies enable teachers and their students to manage information electronically. Bookmarking refers to saving websites addresses on your computer to access them easily, rather than looking them up repeatedly.
Social bookmarking occurs when groups of interested people share their web links electronically using a public web space.
Information alerts are electronic notices that teachers receive on their personal computers advising them that material on requested topics has become available in an online format. 

I find bookmarking to be one of the most beneficial assets when using a computer, whether it be a teacher, student, or anyone for that matter. Bookmarking allows for someone to quickly access their most commonly used webpages with just a click of a button. For example, when I open my web browser the first page lists nine of my top websites I visit on a daily basis (the picture on the right is a snapshot of my web page). I am positive that teachers have bookmarked their favorite websites that they would like to share with their students.

 Social bookmarking is basically the same concept, but it differs in some ways. Social bookmarking involves a group of people interested in the same topic coming together and sharing comments, ideas, web pages, media, and many other things. I took it upon myself to research which of the social medias were the most popular for social bookmarking and this is what I found: Top 15 Most Popular Social Bookmarking Websites
I use Twitter myself to stay up-to-date on anything that interests me. All I have to do when I find something that I am interested in is click "Follow" and then anything that is posted on their behalf will show up on my news feed. The possibilities are endless, you can follow celebrities, politicians, a certain news crew (Fox, CNN, etc.), universities, research, and many more. I was really surprised to find that Delicious was number six on the list, being that I had never heard of it. This just shows that no matter how technologically savvy you may think you are, there are many more things to learn out there.

Tech Tool Link: Delicious

I was recently introduced to a social bookmarking website called Delicious. I had never heard of this website until I enrolled in an Intro to Technology for Educators class. This website allows the user to bookmark any website that they find interesting and it also allows them to place tags on the webpage that was bookmarked in order for the user to remember what they liked about it. For example, if I come across a website that discovered a new species of marine life in the depths of the ocean, I would bookmark that website and tag it "Amazing new marine life". This tools is great for organization if the user has a numerous amount of bookmarks. It helps keep everything in order and also great for a quick find.

Summary & Conclusion:

In general, bookmarking is a great tool for anyone. It allows us to have a customized and efficient way of accessing the things we love the most. Everyone likes to be made aware of new and upcoming information on the topics they are most passionate about. Moreover, not everyone is the same so bookmarking whether it be on the computer or on social networking websites will differ from person to person. It is so amazing the things that can be discovered in this world, but it's even more amazing that we can have access to that information with just a few clicks.

Maloy, R. W., Verock-O, R. E., Edwards, S. A., & Woolf, B. P. (2010). Transforming learning with new technologies. Allyn & Bacon.