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.