Educational Technology

Integrating technology into classrooms was where I needed to improve on evaluations.  Due to budget cuts and lack of access to school technology, I believed that there was no way to make this happen.  Even if I had access I had no clue how to integrate technology effectively and creatively.  It was not until I began this program at Michigan State University that its importance officially made sense.

Since beginning this program, I have applied for technology through donors choose, attended a professional development seminar that had a grant that allowed me to receive a projector as well as document camera and also used my classroom budget to get three classroom tablets.   My students have created videos, cartoon strips, webquests, mindmaps and presentations.  Every time I am able to produce a lesson with technology they are not only engaged but they remember the information due to their creations.  The article by Thomas Friedman emphasizes that teaching students to be innovators is essential for their futures considering computers now perform tasks that people in past generations once have.

To show the importance of integrating technology I created this comic strip using make beliefs comix.  It only allows for three slides, but the website is free and it still allows for a wide range of creativity.  Once finished, students can email you the finished link.  I wanted to make it apparent that I will continue to search for ways to utilize technology and I hope I showed it through this comic strip.

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References:

Donors Choose (n.d.). Retrieved on October 29, 2013 on http://www.donorschoose.org/.

Make Beliefs Comix (n.d.). Retrieved on October 29, 2013 on http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/.

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Failure IS an option

When students first enter my classroom they are afraid to participate.  Students that are afraid to participate means failure to try and get the wrong answer.  It takes some time to train them to feel safe enough to try.  This is why I feel so passionate about failure as an option.  Please take some time to look at our paper and prezi project whether you agree or disagree.   My group demonstrates not only the importance of promoting failure but how ways to change to integrate it.  

 

Use of Technology

Technology has become an integral component for the success of our students by enhancing their depth of understanding and expanding worldviews. New media allows for self expression as well as collaboration. Yet, many educators do not utilize technology as much as they should, especially where I teach. This week I created a survey using survey monkey to see just how much technology is getting integrated and the findings were interesting.

To understand more about the school where I currently work, we have limited access to students using technology. We have two laptop carts available for checkout but we have roughly thirty classes to share them between. Therefore, it was not surprising to me to see the results of the first question and see that most teachers only had daily access to their own laptops. Yet, the second question showed how teachers allow their students to use that technology around 50% of the time.

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The idea I had behind the third question was asked to see how many students have their own technology that they could potentially use to help integrate technology. The results show that about 55% of the students would have their own technology to use. What I failed to ask was how many teachers allow them to use their own. I would imagine that less than half of that population actually does.

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Questions four and five were aimed to see how teachers would use laptops if each student had access to a laptop as well as what kind of training teachers would want. 70% percent would use laptops for exploration. More shocking to me was that 50% of the teachers would us laptops for facts. I once watched a video where someone stated any question you can google online is an irrelevant question in education. Since the focus of students is critically thinking now, why would educators use laptops for facts? 67% of the educators at my school stated they do not have time to integrate technology into their classroom. This tells me that teachers do not understand the importance of integrating technology or they would find time to do so.

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Although the results to question five were discouraging, question six helped me to see that 72% of the teachers would like to have professional development on implementing technology in the classroom. Therefore, the result to question five could mean that teachers do not have time to work out all the faults of programs or even to search for programs to use with this technology and would prefer someone to teach them.

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As you can see from my survey, educators have a long way to go to become avid integrators of technology in the classroom. The take away from this survey is that teachers need the proper training to feel comfortable as well as understanding the importance. Due to the fact that we live in a technological world, educators need to prepare students to be successful using technology or students will be defeated by others when it comes to career opportunities.

References:
Survey Monkey (n.d.). Retrieved on October 19, 2013 on https://www.surveymonkey.com/home/.

Adding Something New to My Infodiet

Learning about my personal information diet caused me to reflect a lot on my own political views.  Politics becomes an avoided topic of discussion due to creating tension through varying opinions.  My infodiet has always consisted of myself staying neutral to topics because I consider myself to be independent due to my beliefs and ability to debate certain points on both liberal and conservative sides.  Therefore, to help expand my infodiet and learn about various new ways of looking at education, I decided to follow Rush Limbaugh, Barrack Obama and John Kerry on twitter.

Through beginning to follow Rush Limbaugh, the so called biggest conservative and political commentator, I can explore his new child rearing technique as well as his take on how the employment rate went down.  According to Rush Limbaugh’s statistics the reason the unemployment rate went down was due to the fact that people have been not participating in the labor force and hence fewer people become counted in this equation.  In teaching mathematics, I have to be aware of all of the variables and extenuating circumstances that go into making data plausible.  I had not thought of this insight until this assignment.  Unfortunately, the news and my internet sources had convinced me that the unemployment rate was getting better by making me believe that the same amount of people were still participating.

Through following Barrack Obama, I learned that it is domestic violence awareness month and how the tea party shutdown stopped funding to Head Start programs, keeping 7,000 children out of school.  Luckily, emergency funding was received but how long will the shutdown last and will the emergency funds be enough?  Education is so critical and this is where we do not invest our money.

John Kerry’s twitter feed had information about human rights and links to updates on the climate security report.   Overall, his twitter feed felt a little less informative and seemed to tell me useless information about him that made him seem more human than the other feeds.  Due to the fact that he is an environmentalist and that I work at an environmental school I can incorporate his knowledge and information from his feed into my classroom.

In following these three people on twitter,  I can expand my political views and have a vast amount of  information not only to back my opinions but to share with my students.  It is relevant to be able to stay current on events in the world as well as thinking critically about the information we get from such sources that could be rendered unhealthy for our infodiet.

References:

American Security Project (n.d). Retrieved on October 13, 2013 from  http://americansecurityproject.org/featured-items/2012/climate-security-report/

Chokshi, N. What’s It Like to Lose Head Start. The Washington Post. Retrieved on October 13, 2013 from  http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/govbeat/wp/2013/10/10/what-its-like-to-lose-head-start/?Post+generic=%3Ftid%3Dsm_twitter_washingtonpost

Personalized Curriculum Aids ADHD

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Too many students are prescribed drugs due to the fact that students are bored and not worked to their ability. A solution to the problem is a free curriculum called Ten Marks. Not only will this benefit students with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, it will benefit all students. Please read my research and suggestions in the paper attached at this link provided.

 

Wicked Problems

This week I read several chapters from a book called The Anti-Education Era: Creating Smarter Students Through Digital Learning by James Gee.  It discusses how we need to create learners to desire and attempt to solve some wicked problems in life and more specifically, America.  The link provides the “take aways” I had while reading this book as well as what makes it so incredibly difficult to solve these problems.  Please read, respond and enjoy.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1jSwZLbaQKmlQTM3bBPI0lJjraiN0t1uP8Nift8XUZ4E/edit

Problem of Practice

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I have identified a problem of practice as being students having difficulty remembering information. A possible solution would be to allow them to be creative and make a comic strip that they would remember. Using the tool makebeliefscomix.com, students will be able to show what they know in a comic strip and create a scenario that follows the guidelines of either inductive or deductive reasoning.

In the past, I let students create a cartoon video with text to speech using Xtranormal.com for this lesson and they absolutely loved it. That site is not working so I needed to find something else. You can also see that this type of tool could be used in any classroom and have multiple different purposes. I hope you can find a way to add this wonderful tool to your own classroom.

Although I tried embedding my video, wordpress kept saying that it was fetching the video. The link is below.

http://screencast.com/t/PLQc7KT9HfyB