Saturday, February 23, 2013

Overview of ED521

I enjoyed this course! I feel like I learned a lot more about what is out in the technology world! A lot of different programs were introduced to me that I had never heard of before! Things that will make personal and professional life more organized, and things that I can use with my students. I liked the fact that I didn’t have to master every program – I was able to simply try out what was suggested, and find what I believe to be most useful.  In this process I found many different programs that I will be using from here on out! I would love to take a refresher course like this every year to keep up with the latest in technology!

Success Story!

I have been wanting to make a blog forever: A blog for my classroom and a blog for personal use. I look at them all the time online, and have several friends who enjoy doing personal blogs. I have tried several times, but always ended up getting frustrated and giving up. This class forced me to make a blog, and in doing so, I found that it wasn’t the nightmare I thought it would be. In fact, it turned out to be rather fun! I have now done a blog for this class, and have started one for my personal life and for school. I am so excited to say I finally understand how to blog and to know that it is something I am capable of doing!!

Top Ten Take Aways!

My Top Ten Take-Aways – ED521
Final Blog

            There are so many tools and ideas I will take away from this course – tools that will make my life more organized, simple, and more interesting! Here are my Top Ten Take-Aways!

1. Diigo – I love love love Diigo! I had always thought it would be great to be able to bookmark items from other computers and be able to access my bookmarks without having to have my work computer with me. This allows me to do just that! I didn’t know there was such a thing! I will use it professionally and personally to keep track of articles and websites I want to remember!

2. Drop Box -  This is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. This eliminates having to email yourself and having to use a flash drive to retrieve your documents! I will use this personally for family photos (I will be able to share them more easily), and I will use it professionally for documents on my computer. One more way to back up the important pictures and documents I have on my computer.

3.Google Sites – I have always wanted to do a classroom website or blog, but didn’t really know how to get started. Google makes them easy to create! I will be making a classroom blog to post pictures, announcements, and newsletters. I will create a family blog to remember special events in my own life.

4.Google Calendar – I think I am in love! I absolutely love having my calendar on my computer and on my phone! I also love that I can share my calendar and get reminders via email and text message. Hello organization!

5. Photobooth –I can’t believe this was on my computer and I didn’t know it! I am wanting to use this in my classroom very soon! I like that you can create custom backgrounds and it is so quick and easy. My students will get a kick out of it!

6.Twitter – I never thought I would be on the bandwagon, but here I go! I will use the professionally to keep up with the latest in teaching and technology! I like following different teachers and tech savvy people.  I learn so much from people that I never even would have thought to ask. Teachers sharing ideas? Yes please!!!

7. Glogster - is a tool that allows users to create virtual posters combining text, audio, video, images, and hyperlinks and to share them with others electronically. This is a fun way to spice things up in the classroom for presenting, and student may be able to create their own simple glogs!

8.Voicethread – I will use this in my classroom to share images and discuss them. It is fun to do, and kiddos love to see their own pictures and their own voices!

9. Google Documents – I will use this professionally to collaborate with colleagues. It is so much easier to share a document than to copy, paste, and resend it back and forth. This would have been handy for group work in college! I can also use it personally – I think about organizing who will bring what dishes for holidays…we could all sign up on a Google document!

10. Google+ Hangouts – I will use this personally to keep in touch with family members who live out of the area. I think this is a much better way to communicate than Skype because you can have more than just two people involved in the conversation at once!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Shared Assignment - My Favorites of ED521!

What I have learned and what I will definitely use from ED 521

 Personally - Pinterest! I love the visuals and what a great way to keep my favorite things saved!
Dropbox - I can use this to back up personal information!
Blogger - I have always wanted to start one for myself, but couldn’t figure it out before!
Google Calendar
Google maps

 Professionally - Twitter- I will use it to keep up with the latest educational info!
Dropbox - I love this feature for backing up and accessing my work related documents.
Google Plus - I love all the features it provides...the calendar, sites, communities, much more to it than I realized
Blogger - I want to make a classroom blog for next year! I may try weebly too!
Garage band
Teachers Pay Teachers
Tiny Url

 What I will use with my students
I tried voicethread with my students and they really liked it! I will continue to use!
I like screenr, I could use this for a variety of things in my classroom
Photobooth - so many possibilities for students! They would LOVE this!
I like the kidblog idea too!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Future of Textbooks

            I remember when I first heard about the concept of losing the textbooks and introducing electronic devices to serve the same purpose….I thought people were crazy! I felt quite sure that this would never happen and people would surely find that nothing could replace our precious textbooks! Now I am finding that my negative thoughts were very ignorant and I am actually looking forward to a future of more technology and less books – there, I said it J
            I have been a little resistant to change from what I knew growing up in school, to how I teach my own students. I have only been teaching for five years, but I have been so hesitant because I don’t always feel very tech savvy. As I become more and more comfortable with it, I seem to embrace it more and more. As long as somebody is willing to teach me, I am willing to learn!
            Why this change? I have seen how technology can enhance learning and increase the productivity in the classroom. I am ready for more. By using technology rather than textbooks, I see many advantages. Students will love them, they would be more interactive, my little 3rd graders would not have to carry 20 pounds of books on their back just to finish a small assignment, space….desk space for students and the shelf space – AHHHHHHH the shelf space! I think about doing novels in our classes, we could order them and instantly have the book on the child’s device. Their tablets would have texts, graphics, video, audio, built in quizzes, they can interact more with the material they are learning, and would likely be more engaged with this than a typical textbook. I could see it really helping struggling students, too! There seem to be endless advantages. Like with anything else. There would be some roadblocks – I think about students losing their homework (now an ipad?!!) that could be scary, or the fact that technology doesn’t always work and I can’t always fix it, and it would really be a HUGE adjustment. It would take a lot of leg-work to plan out the specifics on how to integrate them into the classroom, but I feel like it would have excellent long term benefits.
            I NEVER want to see books go away, however. I think there is something about holding a book, feeling it, looking at the cover, seeing how thick it is, turning the pages, and being off a computer after being on one for so many purposes throughout the day. I believe I will always have books in my classroom for my students…..but the reality is that textbooks could become a thing of the past!

21st Century Skills

21st Century skills are much more complex than those in the past. The days of memorizing information for a test and then forgetting all about the content are over! Although there are still things we want our children to memorize, they are no longer stopping at that point, they are now required to apply that information in more real world applications. In the 21st century we are looking to move up the ladder of Bloom’s Taxonomy – the first step is to recall information…but it doesn’t stop there! They need to go on to understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, and create in order to truly grasp concepts and be ready to use their knowledge in real world applications. Higher-level thinking skills are highly encouraged in the 21st century!!

 We are also integrating technology into teaching and learning in order to enhance the learning experiences of students and to teach them how to use technology in their own lives. Teachers need to continuously be trained on the amazing advancements in technology that can help them help their students. There are so many new trends in technology that can enhance the teaching and learning experience. There are resources available to help teachers teach, and there are resources that help student learn more effectively by keeping them more engaged.

It is so important that students are introduced to the importance of interacting and collaborating with others to learn and develop plans and ideas. There are so many resources available that will help us do just that! No longer are we working solo – two heads are better than one! People work together in the work force all the time. It is a life long skill and for many it takes practice. It is critical that we as educators work together to help each other grow, and it is important that we teach our students to do the same! 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

How Technology Has Changed My Teaching

I have only been teaching for about five years, but I have already found that each year gets a little bit better because of the new trends in technology! Here are a few ways my teaching has changed for the better because of technology!

1. Went from desktop computer to laptop – so thankful for this change! I love being able to take my computer home so I can do my work from the couch J

2. I went from the overhead projector and a whole mess of transparencies, to my lovely hovercam. I use this ALL THE TIME! Now, I am hoping for a mini mac!

3. I got a smartboard about two years ago – at first I rarely used it, but now I am becoming more and more comfortable with it and enjoying it very much!

4. I use youtube and learn 360 for educational videos

5. The grading system at my school has been upgraded to Power School, which I really do like.

6. Technology has come with new curriculum; I have math CD’s for our math and social studies curriculum.

7. I have been using flash drives to back up my school plans 

8. I have itunes on my computer for school use.

In only five years I feel like my teaching has changes greatly due to technology….and I am sure it will continue to constantly change for the better. A few things I will use from ED521 that will help me in my classroom from here on out are voicethread (activities with kids), Diigo (keep me organized), google calendar (keep me organized and sane),  blogger (personal and professional), dropbox (keep my files safe and at my fingertips), and twitter (to keep me in the loop on the latest trends in teaching and technology). There are so many great tools out there!